He called for continued support for these men and women, who help countries to transition from war to peace.
Hope and help
“They are also critical to the protection of civilians caught up in the chaos of these deadly conflicts, providing a lifeline of hope and help in some of the most dangerous contexts imaginable,” he added.
Mr. Guterres noted that many have paid the ultimate price as more than 4,200 peacekeepers have lost their lives serving under the UN flag.
“We stand in sympathy and solidarity with their families, friends and colleagues, and will forever be inspired by their selfless devotion to the cause of peace,” he said.
Support and recognition
Today, more than 87,000 peacekeepers from 125 countries serve in 12 UN operations located in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
They face rising global tensions and divides, stagnating peace processes, and more complex conflicts, the Secretary-General said.
“Despite these obstacles, and working with a wide range of partners, peacekeepers persevere,” he added
“To people living under the shadow of conflict, our teams of Blue Helmets represent hope. As peacekeepers support humanity, let us always support and recognize them.”
‘Peace begins with me’
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers has been commemorated annually on 29 May, in line with a UN General Assembly resolution adopted in 2002.
The date marks the start of the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), in Palestine in 1948.
The theme of the 75th anniversary of UN Peacekeeping is ‘Peace begins with me’, which recognizes the service and sacrifice of blue helmets, past and present. It also pays tribute to the resilience of the communities they serve, who continue to strive for peace despite many obstacles.
The annual ceremony marking the Day was held on Thursday at UN Headquarters in New York, where the Secretary-General noted that peacekeepers “are increasingly working in places where there is no peace to keep.”
The following day, the city played host to an interactive art installation in Times Square celebrating peacekeepers and all those who work together to build and maintain peace across the world, including community members and local influencers in places where UN missions operate.
Assault on AU peacekeepers condemned
In related developments, the UN Secretary-General has strongly condemned a recent deadly assault on African Union peacekeepers in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab insurgents attacked the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) base in Buulo Maleer, Lower Shabelle region, on Friday, according to media reports.
The base was staffed by peacekeepers from Uganda.
“The Secretary-General conveys his heartfelt condolences to the families of those killed as well as to the Government and people of Uganda. He wishes a speedy and full recovery to the injured,” UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement on Monday.
The Secretary-General paid tribute to all ATMIS troops and expressed appreciation for their service in support of peace and stability in Somalia, he added.
The UN chief also reiterated his call for international support to ATMIS and the Somalia security forces in their fight against violent extremism.