UN Secretary General to honour 3 fallen Indian peacekeepers

at 6:49 pm
Indian peacekeepers on UN Mission (File pic from UN)

New Delhi (NVI) Three Indians, who lost their lives during UN peacekeeping missions in different countries, will be honoured by Secretary General António Guterres at the headquarters of the global body in New York on May 27.

The three Indians – Corporal Yuvraj Singh and civilians Ivan Michael Picardo and Mulchand Yadav, are among 4,000 UN peacekeepers from around the world to have lost their lives since 1948.

Yuvraj Singh and Picardo had served with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), while Yadav had worked for the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), according to a statement by the UN Information Centre here.

To honour 4,000 such UN peacekeepers who lost their lives on missions, Guterres will lay a wreath on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 27 at a function at the UN Headquarters, it said.

He will also preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year and in the first month of this year, the statement said.

India is the 5th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping with more than 5,500 military and police serving in peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, South Sudan and the Western Sahara

“Their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten,” the UN Secretary General said, while paying tributes to the fallen peacekeepers.

“I express my deep gratitude to the 85,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed in some of the world’s most challenging hotspots to protect the vulnerable and help to build peace. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, as well as the risk of infection, these men and women have pursued their mission while also supporting local authorities in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

“I offer sincere condolences to the families of peacekeepers who have fallen victim to this terrible disease,” Guterres added.

The theme for this year’s observance is “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.”

Tens of thousands of young peacekeepers deployed around the world play a key role in helping UN missions implement their mandated activities, with the active participation of young people from host communities.  Across the UN missions, peacekeepers collaborate with youth to reduce violence and sustain peace, including through DDR and Community violence reduction programmes.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “We salute the dedication and bravery of our peacekeepers, who serve and perform admirably in challenging environments only compounded by the ongoing pandemic. I also honor our young peacekeepers who bring energy and innovation, and serve as role models to youth populations working tirelessly to ensure meaningful representation and participation in political processes.”

He added: “Our peacekeepers deserve our full support, and we must continue to work together to do all we can to improve their safety and security and give them the tools to succeed.”

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the 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.

The General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting millions of people, and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 89,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.