Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the General secretary The UN organization on Thursday paid tribute to the women and men fighting for peace on the front lines in some of the world’s most dangerous places.
In commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which is officially celebrated on May 29, António Guterres recalled that the initial “daring experiment” that deployed a small number of military observers in the Middle East in 1948, “ it is now a flagship initiative of the Organization”.
“Today, for civilians trapped in the hell of conflict, our blue helmets are a beacon of hope and protection. They support security, stability and the rule of law in host countries. They represent the beating heart of the United Nations commitment to peace,” she highlighted.
The difficult mission of working for peace when it cannot be achieved
Guterres explained that the peacekeepers have 87,000 troops from 125 countries working in 12 operations and “face a daunting accumulation of growing tensions and global divisions” where “conflicts are increasingly complex.”
“Conflicts become more complex. Peace processes stall. Terrorism, armed groups, gang violence and transnational crime are poisoning entire communities, countries and regions. And the digital world has become a terrifying frontier of tension, division, hate and misinformation, ”she summed up.
For all these reasons, he reflected that “unfortunately” peacekeeping forces frequently work in places “where there is no peace to maintain”, and estimated at 103 the number of deaths during the past year among its ranks.
Consequently, he summoned consider the need to create “a new generation of peacekeeping missions and antiterrorist operationsrun by our partners with a mandate of Security Council of the UN under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, with guaranteed financing, specifically through quotas”.
Women lead the way to peace
The Secretary General then praised the crucial role played by women in the UN forces, citing the importance of Security Council Resolution 1325a historic document that “reminds us that there can be no lasting peace without the participation of women at every step.”
“It is up to all of us – governments, communities and local officials – to ensure that women play their full role, including as leaders, in building and maintaining peace. Resolution 1325 reminds us that our women not only support world peace and security. They are leading the way.”.
For this reason, Guterres was proud to present the Annual Award for the Best Military Defender of Gender Issues to Captain Cecilia Erzuah for her work in Abyei as commander of the Ghana Intervention Squad since March 2022.
“In Abyei, she witnessed firsthand the enormous burden armed conflict places on entire communities – especially women – and spared no effort to ensure their voices were heard and reflected,” she explained.
The Secretary General highlighted his commitment to local leaders, to the women’s and youth groups, which were essential for the success of the mission, and the debates on domestic violence and gender equality that he organized. These meetings led to the women joining the Community Protection Committees that warn about threats to local security.
Above all, commitment to the community
During her acceptance speech for the award, Erzuah stressed the importance of gender parity and the deployment of more women in peacekeeping.
Despite the environmental challenges, we strive to serve as role models for women, children and all members of the community. Our commitments increased the communities’ trust in my battalion and facilitated the collection and sharing of information between the local population and my battalion, allowing the mission to better serve the diverse needs of these communities,” he said.
At the service of peace in the world since 1948
Since in 1948 The historic decision was made to deploy military observers to the Middle East to monitor the implementation of the Armistice Agreements between Israel and the Arab States, in what became the United Nations Truce Supervision Agency, more than two million peacekeepers from 125 countries have served in 71 operations around the world.
Currently, 87,000 women and men work in 12 conflict zones in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.