The United Nations commemorates May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers to pay tribute to men and women who have served as military, police, or civilians in UN Peacekeeping operations. It is a day to commend their hard work, dedication, courage, and pay honor in the memory for those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The UN Peacekeeping Day was designated on December 11, 2002, by the United Nations General Assembly under the resolution 57/129. Following an official request by the Ukrainian Peacekeepers Association and the Government of Ukraine to the UN General Assembly the International Day for UN Peacekeeping was first held in 2003.
May 29 marks the anniversary of the creation in 1948 of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) to oversee the ceasefire following the Arab-Israeli War of 1948, which was the first-ever UN peacekeeping operation.
Goal of International Day for UN Peacekeeping
International Day for the United Nations Peacekeepers’ provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the invaluable contribution of uniformed and civilian personnel to the Organization’s work and to honor over 3,900 peacekeepers that have lost their lives serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 102 last year.
International Day for UN Peacekeeping Day 2020 Theme – Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace.
This year’s theme marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. This year the challenges and the risk faced by our peacekeepers are much greater than ever because they are not only coping with COVID-19 but also providing support and protection to the people in the countries they are based in. Despite the risk of COVID-19, they continue their operations to the best of their abilities and support the governments and the local populations.
Women peacekeepers make an immense contribution towards peacekeeping. They improve the overall productivity of peacekeeping and have greater access to communities, especially women, and thus it helps to promote and protect human rights and the protection of civil society. They also encourage women to be a central part of peace and political processes, whereby women are more likely to become active in peace talks and the consistency and longevity of peace agreements, and when women are signatories to peace accords, academic work is more likely to contribute to lasting peace and stability.
Through 72 UN peacekeeping operations, more than 1 million men and women protected the lives of millions of people directly, saving countless lives. By UN Peacekeeping operations more than 95,000 military, police, and civilian personnel are deployed today in 13 operations.
The Secretary-General will lay the cornerstone of the day at UN Headquarters in New York in memory of all the peacekeepers who have died under the United Nations flag for the past seven years. And the Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be presented posthumously to peacekeepers who died in 2019 at a virtual ceremony. At the virtual ceremony, the Peacekeeping Gender Advocate of the year award is also presented.