UN honors fallen peacekeepers

2019-05-25 11:50:26 GMT2019-05-25 19:50:26(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Peacekeeper representatives attend a solemn ceremony to commemorate their fallen colleagues at the UN headquarters in New York, May 24, 2019. The United Nations on Friday honored its fallen peacekeepers with a solemn ceremony on occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. (Xinhua/Li Muzi) Peacekeeper representatives attend a solemn ceremony to commemorate their fallen colleagues at the UN headquarters in New York, May 24, 2019. The United Nations on Friday honored its fallen peacekeepers with a solemn ceremony on occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Friday honored its fallen peacekeepers with a solemn ceremony on occasion of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres laid a wreath at a monument dedicated to those who gave their lives for peace, at the premises of its headquarters in New York.

"Hailing from more than 120 countries, our peacekeepers' service and sacrifice, and their courage and compassion demonstrate the best of the United Nations," Guterres told the ceremony.

"More than 1 million men and women have served under the blue flag of the United Nations. The vast majority have returned home to their countries and their loved ones. Today, we honor the memory of those who didn't," he said.

More than 3,800 military, police and civilian peacekeepers have lost their lives since the United Nations deployed the first of its 72 peacekeeping missions back in 1948. Last year, 98 peacekeepers from 36 countries lost their lives, he said.

"While that is the lowest number of casualties in a decade, it remains unacceptable."

These peacekeepers gave their lives to protect others and to give war-torn countries a chance for peace and hope, he said.

Guterres noted that UN peacekeepers face grave threats. Attacks on their patrols and their facilities have become all too common. Disease and accidents also take a heavy toll, he said.

The UN missions in Mali, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among the most dangerous, he said.

The UN chief promised to do everything he can to ensure the safety of peacekeepers.

"Our peacekeepers need better training and better equipment, and their mandates need to be realistic and adequately supported with both resources and political will. We must also ensure that the perpetrators of attacks against peacekeepers are identified and brought to justice."

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