US: UN peacekeepers need resources to build sustainable peace - UN chief

New York, US (PANA) - Marking International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres said peacekeepers must have the tools and rules they need to adapt to the dangerous and challenging environments they face.

"Peacekeeping operations have evolved from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and much more," Guterres said in a statement titled 'Investing in Peace Around the World'.

He noted that peacekeepers, known also as 'blue helmets' for their iconic headgear, are deployed to many places where warring parties show little commitment to peace, and are themselves increasingly targeted by parties to conflict and violent extremism.

To date, 54 UN peace operations have completed their mandates. Two more, in Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia, will soon close, joining a long list of successful operations in Angola, Cambodia, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste and elsewhere.

While UN peacekeepers are relentlessly in search for new ways to build sustainable peace, the UN chief said: "They also work to ensure that women are fully represented in peace processes, political life, and in branches of government. All these investments are fundamental to building lasting peace."

With the demand for UN peacekeepers rising steadily over the years, he said that their deployment is now near an all-time high. Despite the demand, he explained that the UN is working hard to make all peacekeeping operations cost-effective from start to finish.

"Despite their different sizes and mandates, all UN missions have the same goals: to save lives, protect people, to set the stage for peace, and then close. They are intended to be short-term investments that provide long-term dividends by creating the time and space for political processes to unfold.

"On this International Day of UN Peacekeepers, we pay tribute to more than 113,000 ‘Blue Helmets’, UN Police and civilian personnel deployed to 16 missions. We acknowledge the contribution made by an ever-growing number of Member States to our operations.  

"We thank more than one million women and men who have served under the UN flag with professionalism, dedication and courage throughout our history. And we honour the memory of more than 3,500 peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving.

"Last year, 117 peacekeepers paid the ultimate price. They included military, police, international civil servants, UN Volunteers and national staff from 43 countries. So far in 2017, twelve peacekeepers have been killed.

"Their efforts on behalf of the international community are one of the most concrete expressions of the UN Charter’s determination 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'. We all owe them a great debt," Guterres added.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 29May2017

29 may 2017 14:51:05

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