The United Nations (UN) has honoured over 100 fallen peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving as blue helmets in 2022 as the global organisation observed the International Day of UN Peacekeepers which falls on 29 May. This year marks the 75th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping with some 87 000 peacekeepers from 125 countries across 12 operations currently serving around the world.
The Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, urged the Security Council to better reflect the need for a new generation of peace-enforcement missions as blue helmets increasingly find themselves in theatres where there is often no peace to keep. While a peacekeeper from Ghana serving in the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei was named the 2022 Military General Advocate of the Year.
The Secretary General honoured the fallen by laying a wreath at the Peacekeepers Memorial on the ground of UN Headquarters. This was followed by a moment of silence in the General Assembly as Guterres paid tribute.
“They support security, stability and the rule of law in host countries. They represent the beating heart of the United Nations’ commitment to peace. By bringing peacekeepers together from around, peacekeeping has also become an inspiring symbol of multilateralism in action.”
Fatalities in military
The year 2022 saw 103 fatalities – military, police and civilian blue helmets – from 39 different countries.
“Conflicts are becoming more complex. Peace processes are stagnating. Terrorism, armed groups, gang violence, and transnational crime are poisoning communities, countries and entire regions. And the digital world has become a frightening frontier of tension, division, hate and mis and disinformation. Sadly, our peacekeepers are increasingly working in places where there is no peace to keep. We must seriously reflect on the need for a new generation of peace-enforcement missions and counter-terrorism operations, led by our partners with a UN Security Council mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, with guaranteed funding, namely through assessed contributions.”
He awarded the posthumous Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to the Ambassadors from the nations of the fallen peacekeepers while Ghanaian Captain Cecelia Erzuah was honoured with the 2022 Gender Advocate of the Year Award for her work as the Commander of an Engagement Platoon serving in Abeyi between Sudan and South Sudan.
“This award underscores the tireless efforts and dedication of my platoon towards the gender equality and inclusiveness while accomplishing the mandate of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abeyi. The importance of gender parity and the development and the deployment of more women in peacekeeping cannot be overemphasized. As the engagement platoon commander of the first Ghanian battalion in Abyei, my regular community engagement through both the mix and all -female engagement teams, helped in building trust with all parts of the communities we served.”
The United Nations continues to call on member states to bolster their military ranks with women in an effort to increase female representation in peacekeeping missions around the world.