Guterres: The UN forces are the best ally for peace

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“Peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the prize”, the UN Secretary General recalled this Thursday when honoring the more than one and a half million people who have served in the peacekeeping tasks of the United Nations since 1948.

In a message for the celebration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, which is officially commemorated this Sunday, António Guterres paid tribute “to the almost 4,200 heroes and heroines who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of peace” since the middle of the 20th century and expressed gratitude to the 87,000 civilian, police and military personnel who serve under the Organization’s flag.

“They face enormous challenges. The increase in violence against peacekeepers has made their work even more dangerous. The restrictions due to the pandemic have made it more difficult. However, United Nations peacekeepers continue to serve with distinction as a partner for peace,” he said in a video message marking the commemoration.

The head of the UN stressed that this year’s celebration focuses on the power of alliances and called on governments and societies to join forces to resolve their differences through dialogue, the protection of the most vulnerable people and the construction of a “culture of non-violence”.

He also stressed that the Organization’s peacekeepers work globally with civil society, humanitarian personnel, the media, the communities they serve and many others “to promote peace, protect civilians, promote human rights and the rule of law and improve the lives of millions of people”

“Our debt to peacekeepers is perpetual,” he summarized.

Women make a difference in peacekeeping missions

Guterres began his day by participating in a ceremony in memory of the personnel who died in service and later presented various decorations in tribute to the 117 men and women who lost their lives in 2021 in the service of peace.

Relatives of the late Captain Abdelrazakh Hamit Bahar of Chad have been awarded the United Nations’ highest honor for exceptional courage shown during their service in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The United Nations Annual Award for Best Military Gender Advocate went to a blue helmet from Zimbabwe for the first time.

Commander Winnet Zharare, who recently completed her service as a military observer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, received the award from Guterres.

The UN chief praised Zharare and stressed that for years she has strongly defended gender equality and the recognition of women as decision-makers and leaders and called for parity “within her own ranks and between the armed forces.” local military and host communities.

In terms of gender, Guterres stressed that women who work in peacekeeping “make a profound difference” and help the Organization “to carry out its work in a more inclusive and effective way.”

“They save and change lives. That is why we constantly strive to increase the number of women in peace operations – be they military, police or civilian – and for achieving gender parity everywhere”.

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