The message from Under-Secretary-General Jean-Pierre Lacroix on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers
As we observe the International Day of UN Peacekeepers around the world and in our missions today, 29 May, I join the Secretary-General in paying tribute to our colleagues who gave their lives in the service of peace this past year.
We marked the Day here at UNHQ on Friday, with the Secretary-General laying a wreath at the Peacekeeping memorial in honor of the more than 3,800 military, police and civilian peacekeepers have lost their lives since the United Nations deployed the first of its 72 peacekeeping missions back in 1948. Representatives of 38 member states who lost peacekeepers this past year also received the Dag Hammarskjold medal.
This year, we also marked the 20th anniversary of the first explicit Protection of Civilians mandate for a peacekeeping mission. Over the past 20 years, POC has increasingly been at the heart of UN peacekeeping. It is now a critical part of the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping agenda.
Lastly, we paid a special tribute to Private Chancy Chitete, a UN peacekeeper from Malawi who was posthumously awarded the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage for his remarkable actions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which helped to save the lives of his comrades and protect many civilians on the ground.
This was a very moving moment and we all felt deep sorrow, but also immense gratitude, to Private Chitete, as his widow, Mrs Lachel Chitete, received the Medal from the Secretary-General on his behalf.
In this spirit, with both Captain Diagne and Private Chitete in mind, as well as all the peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving under the blue flag of the United Nations, let me express my deep gratitude and admiration for your commitment and your courage. Your service to the cause of peace makes a difference every day in the lives of millions of the most vulnerable.
Thank you all for your continued dedication.
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations