On Thursday, the United Nations honoured 117 military, police, and civilian personnel from 42 countries, including six Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year, at a solemn ceremony at the UN headquarters.
The ceremony, presided over by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, marked the annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers in which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace, during the preceding year.
Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen Pakistani peacekeepers—Police Lance Corporal Tahir Ikram, Police Lance Corporal Adil Jan, Havildar Muhammad Nil Naeem, Havildar Muhammad Shafeeq, NCE Tahir Mehmood and Abrar Sayed.
“I feel deeply honoured and proud on receiving these awards on behalf of six fallen Pakistani peacekeepers,” Ambassador Akram told APP after the ceremony. “There is a steadfast resolve on Pakistan’s part to build upon the glorious past to achieve shared goals of peace and security,” he added.
In his message on the occasion, the UN chief pointed out that the world body was honouring more than one million women and men, who had served as UN peacekeepers since 1948. “We pay tribute to the nearly 4,200 heroes and heroines, who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace,” he said.
“And we are reminded of an age-old truth: Peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the prize,” he said. “We are deeply grateful to the 87,000 civilian, police and military personnel now serving under the UN flag, who are helping to realise the prize of peace worldwide.”
The theme for this year’s observance of the day is “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships”. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said the UN peacekeepers worked daily to protect vulnerable people in the world’s most fragile political and security situations.
“The dangers they face are greater than ever, with increasing global tensions, ever-more-complex threats from terrorist attacks to organised crime and the use of improvised explosive devices and a surge in mis- and disinformation targeting our missions and the communities we serve,” he said.
The UN General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission began operations in Palestine. Since then, more than one million women and men have served in 72 UN operations.