UNIFIL Commemorates International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers

Posted on: May 29, 2012 at 23:05
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) held a ceremony on Tuesday to commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers that is observed every year on May 29, announced the force in a statement on Tuesday.

At UNIFIL’s headquarters in Naqoura peacekeepers representing 39 different national contingents were joined by local authorities, officers of the Lebanese armed and security forces and diplomatic representatives

UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Paolo Serra and Brigadier-General Toufic Sultani, representing the Lebanese army commander, laid wreaths at the UNIFIL Cenotaph in honor of the peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace.

A minute of silence was observed. There have been 294 fatalities of peacekeepers serving with UNIFIL since its establishment in 1978.

“Peacekeeping is a Global Partnership” is the theme of this year’s commemoration.

“The United Nations is marking the day by highlighting the global partnerships that help sustain U.N. Peacekeeping. United Nations Peacekeeping draws together the legal and political authority of the Security Council, the personnel and financial contributions of Member States, the support of host countries and the accumulated experience of the Secretariat in managing operations in the field. It is this partnership that gives U.N. Peacekeeping its legitimacy, sustainability and global reach,” said the UNIFIL statement.

Serra stressed the importance of the strategic partnership with the Lebanese army.

He stated: “On this occasion I wish to convey a special word of appreciation to the Lebanese army that continues to be an excellent partner in the performance of our duties.”

“My sincere thanks go to the Lebanese government and the people of the South for their strong support and untiring commitment to UNIFIL. Only with your collaboration and friendship, UNIFIL has been able to advance implementation of our mandated tasks,” he added.

The International Day of U.N. Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to those serving in U.N. peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives. The Day was set on May 29, the date in 1948 of the first U.N. peacekeeping mission: UNTSO (UN Truce Supervision Organization). Today, there are about 120,000 peacekeepers worldwide from 116 countries serving in 17 missions. They include UNIFIL’s around 12,000 soldiers and about 1,000 civilians.
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