UN: Ban honours UN peacekeepers

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Thursday in New York awarded the inaugural "Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage" to the family of late Captain Diagne, who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda before succumbing to fatal injury incurred in line of duty.

Captain Diagne was a Senegalese military officer and a UN military observer during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

PANA in New York reports that the UN chief presented the first of such medals in commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Ban also laid a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers, and presided over a ceremony during which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2015.

In a message to mark the Day, he said: "On this Day, we honour our heroes, the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948".

"We pay our highest tribute to the more than 3,400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service in 2015," he noted.

The UN chief stressed that "the confidence that the world places in UN peacekeeping is reflected in its massive growth in recent years, in terms of both numbers and complexity."

"Fifteen years ago, the UN had fewer than 40,000 military and police personnel. Today, more than 105,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside18,000 international and civilian staff and UN volunteers.

"They manifest the best attributes of global solidarity, courageously serving in dangerous environments to provide security to some of the world's most vulnerable," Ban stated.

The 2016 observance of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers marks the eighth successive year in which the UN has honoured more than 100 peacekeepers (Blue Helmets), who lost their lives in the previous year, while serving the cause of peace.

This year's theme is: "Honouring Our Heroes".
-0- PANA AA/VAO 19May2016

19 may 2016 15:14:09

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