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UN Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 30 May, 2024

28 May 2024

UN Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Thursday, 30 May 2024.

In 1948, the historic decision was made to deploy military observers to the Middle East to supervise the implementation of Israel-Arab Armistice Agreements, in what became the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization.

Since that time, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have since served in 71 operations around the world. Today, some 76,000 women and men are serving in 11 conflict zones across Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

During formal ceremonies at United Nations Headquarters, Secretary-General, António Guterres, will lay a wreath to honour all UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948. He will also preside over a ceremony in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, at which Dag Hammarskjöld Medals will be awarded posthumously to 64 military, police, and civilian peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag, including 61 who perished last year.

The Secretary-General will also present the 2023 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award to Major Radhika Sen, a military officer from India, who served with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

Created in 2016, the Award “recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security”.

In his message, the Secretary-General said: “Today we pay tribute to the more than 76,000 United Nations peacekeepers who embody humanity’s highest ideal: peace. Day in and day out, at great personal risk, these women and men bravely work in some of the most dangerous and unstable places on earth to protect civilians, uphold human rights, support elections and strengthen institutions. More than 4,300 peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price while serving under the UN flag. We will never forget them.”

The theme for 2024 International Day of UN Peacekeepers is “Fit for the future, building better together.” The theme denotes that while UN Peacekeeping has proven to be part of the solution for over 75 years -- assisting host countries in navigating the difficult path from conflict to peace -- the Secretary-General’s New Agenda for Peace policy brief sets out a path for multilateral peace and security operations to remain viable tools to address future crises and conflict.

“UN Peacekeeping remains a unique global partnership, with peacekeepers from over 120 countries making a meaningful difference every day to millions of people in some of the most world's most difficult places,” said Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations. "As we respond to tomorrow's challenges, UN Peacekeeping continues to evolve, leveraging partnerships to be nimble, responsive and fit-for-purpose, promote stability, protect the vulnerable and help to build a durable peace.”

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Schedule of Events at Headquarters on 30 May

09:45 a.m.: The Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site on the North Lawn. (If inclement weather, the ceremony will be held near the Chagall window in the Visitors’ Lobby). While UN Photo and UN TV will cover the ceremony, members of the UN press corps are invited. It will not be webcast live but will be available on demand soon after the event.

11:00 a.m.: The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal and Military Gender Advocate of the Year ceremonies will be held in the Trusteeship Council Chamber and shown live on UN Webcast.

+12:15 p.m.: Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will be the guest at the noon briefing. It will be broadcast live.

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Media Contacts: Douglas Coffman, Department of Global Communications -+1 (917) 361-9923, e-mail: coffmand@un.org; or Hector Calderon, hector.calderon@un.org or Aditya Mehta, mehta2@un.org from the Department of Peace Operations.

For more information, please visit the Peacekeepers Day page.