MINURSO’s peacekeepers: National Day of Switzerland

1 Aug 2022

MINURSO’s peacekeepers: National Day of Switzerland

On 1 August, MINURSO observed the National Day of Switzerland by hoisting the country’s flag at the Mission HQ next to the UN flag.

Since 1990 Switzerland has been sending unarmed military observers and liaison officers to UN peacekeeping operations. Currently, its peacekeepers serve in six DPO-led missions. In 2021, Major General Patrick Gauchat became the first official of the Swiss Army appointed as Head of Mission (UNTSO). In 2023, Switzerland will join for the first time the UN Security Council as non-permanent member.

In MINURSO, two military observers work in the challenging conditions at the Team Sites in the Sahara Desert. Additionally, Swiss Armed Forces International Command (SWISSINT) provides one civilian expert in support to the Mine Action Programme.

On the National Day, Switzerland commemorates the signing of the Letter of Confederation from 1291. However, 1 August became a public holiday only in 1994 and, since then, it is known for its community-based celebrations.