Indian soldier to receive UN Peacekeeping Award posthumously

at 7:17 pm
Indian peacekeepers on UN Mission (File pic from UN)

New Delhi: An Indian soldier Naik Dhananjay Kumar Singh, who lost his life while serving under a UN Peacekeeping operation in African country Congo, will be honoured by António Guterres, Secretary General of the world body, at a special ceremony in New York on May 30.

Naik Dhananjay Singh will receive the prestigious Dag Hammarskjold medal, along with 63 other military, police, and civilian peacekeepers of various other countries who lost their lives serving under the UN flag, according to a statement by the United Nations Information Centre.

The fallen soldiers and civilians to be honoured include 61 who perished last year.

Naik Dhananjay Singh served with the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and sacrificed his life in the line of duty.

The Secretary-General will also present the 2023 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award to Major Radhika Sen, a military officer from India.

Major Sen also served with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Created in 2016, the Award “recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security”.

The awards will be given when the UN Headquarters observes the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 30.

India is the 2nd largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.

Currently, it has deputed more than 6,000 military and police personnel to the UN operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, South Sudan, and Western Sahara.

It was in 1948 that the historic decision was made to deploy military observers to the Middle East to supervise the implementation of Israel-Arab Armistice Agreements, in what became the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.

Since that time, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have since served in 71 operations around the world. Today, some 76,000 women and men are serving in 11 conflict zones across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

During formal ceremonies at United Nations Headquarters on May 30, Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948.

In his message, the Secretary-General said: “Today we pay tribute to the more than 76,000 United Nations peacekeepers who embody humanity’s highest ideal: peace. Day in and day out, at great personal risk, these women and men bravely work in some of the most dangerous and unstable places on earth to protect civilians, uphold human rights, support elections and strengthen institutions. More than 4,300 peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price while serving under the UN flag. We will never forget them.”

The theme for 2024 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Fit for the future, building better together.”

The theme denotes that while UN Peacekeeping has proven to be part of the solution for over 75 years — assisting host countries in navigating the difficult path from conflict to peace —  the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace policy brief sets out a path for multilateral peace and security operations to remain viable tools to address future crises and conflict.

“UN Peacekeeping remains a unique global partnership, with peacekeepers from over 120 countries making a meaningful difference every day to millions of people in some of the most world’s most difficult places,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations.

“As we respond to tomorrow’s challenges, UN Peacekeeping continues to evolve, leveraging partnerships to be nimble, responsive and fit-for-purpose, promote stability, protect the vulnerable and help to build a durable peace.” Lacroix said.

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.