UNFICYP marks the International Day of UN Peacekeepers

29 May 2017

UNFICYP marks the International Day of UN Peacekeepers

NICOSIA, 29 May 2017 - Every year, the UN marks the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, when we pay tribute to all the men and women who have served either as military, police or civilians and continue to serve in UN Peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage . We also honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

This year, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus and Head of Mission, Ms. Elizabeth Spehar, and UNFICYP Force Commander Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir led the annual commemoration of the International Day of Peacekeepers at Mission HQ in the buffer zone.

Speaking at the event, SRSG Spehar said: “The theme of this year’s International Day of Peacekeepers is ‘Investing in Peace around the World’. Everyone standing before me has invested in a peaceful, secure and prosperous future for Cyprus. You do so with your hard work, dedication, and through upholding, to the highest standards, our UN values and principles. And our work has never been more important than it is today.”

In his remarks, General Humayun said: “Although Cyprus is relatively calm compared to conflicts around the world and even within this region, as Force Commander it is my priority to ensure our troops are well prepared for all scenarios; it is imperative that whatever challenges we face, we must continue to act professionally and in the cause of furthering peace and stability.”

“We pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to this noble cause, and commit to continuing to serve with diligence so that the people of Cyprus are able to enjoy a future free from conflict,” he added.

In his message for the day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged “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,” he added.

Currently, more than 113,000 ‘Blue Helmets’, UN Police and civilian personnel deployed to 16 missions around the world.  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.

Since the establishment of UNFICYP in 1964, 186 civilian, military and police personnel have died in service to peace in Cyprus.