UN Honours 60 Years Of Service By Peacekeepers
UN honours 60 years of service by peacekeepers worldwide
29 May 2008 - From solemn wreath-laying ceremonies honouring those who died in service to a peace march, concerts, sporting events and multimedia exhibitions, United Nations offices and missions around the world are today observing the International Day of UN Peacekeepers - 60 years to the day after the first blue helmets were authorized by the Organization.
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno led a wreath-laying ceremony at UN Headquarters in New York this morning, noting that 90 peacekeepers died last year, taking the total number of personnel who have died since the first operation was established in 1948 to over 2,400.
"Serving far from home in challenging and dangerous environments, these men and women represent the best the international community has to offer; we pay tribute to their sacrifice and dedication in pursuit of the noble goals of the United Nations," he said.
"But even as we mourn those we have lost, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of those who continue the work of their departed comrades whom we honour here today."
More than 110,000 military, police and civilian personnel currently serve in 20 UN peace operations around the world, and the UN peacekeeping budget stands at $6.5 billion, an all-time high.