UN: UN issues new stamps to mark International Day of UN Peacekeepers

New York, US (PANA) - Ahead of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, celebrated annually on 29 May, the UN Postal Administration (UNPA) late on Friday unveiled a set of six new stamps to mark the Day.

UNPA in a statement, obtained by PANA in New York, said: "To commemorate the day, we continue to honour the memory of those who gave their lives to the cause of peace, and pay tribute to all men and women who carry on their legacy by serving in the field.

"UNPA is proud to issue stamps that feature images of the important work of UN peacekeepers around the world.”

It stated that the stamps will be issued jointly with the Austrian Post on Sunday, and a pre-launch ceremony will be held on Saturday at the World Stamp Show in New York.

UNPA said the stamps can be purchased at unstamps.org, as well as at UNPA stamp shops at UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002 in tribute to all the men and women serving in peace operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, as well as to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

The General Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the organization's first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.

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

While the official Day is on 29 May, UN headquarters in New York this year celebrated on 19 May, under the theme Honouring Our Heroes.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presided over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the nearly 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag.

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

Ban also presented the inaugural "Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage" to the family of the late Captain Diagne, who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 while serving as a peacekeeper in Rwanda before succumbing to fatal injury incurred while on duty.

In his message to mark the Day, the UN chief stressed that the confidence the world places in UN peacekeeping is reflected in its "massive growth" in recent years, in terms of both numbers and complexity.

He noted that 15 years ago, the UN had fewer than 40,000 military and police personnel, but today, more than 105,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police-contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside 18,000 international and civilian staff and UN volunteers.

PANA reports that the Day is marked each year to strengthen bonds with the local populations on whose behalf they serve.

The peacekeepers in UN field missions in parts of the world hold sporting events, visits schools and orphanages, organize art and essay competitions, photo exhibits, neighbourhood clean-ups, tree plantings, concerts, and conferences and workshops on peace issues.

The events held around the world can be tracked under the hashtag #Together4Peace.
-0- PANA AA/MA 28May2016

28 may 2016 07:39:09

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