4 April 2017
29 May is the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day was established to “honour the memory of the UN Peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the cause of peace and to pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.”
The first International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was observed on 29 May 2003, following its establishment by the General Assembly, in resolution 57/129, in 2002. The date, 29 May, was chosen because on that day in 1948, the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations, with a group of unarmed military observers in Palestine.
Peacekeeping has long since evolved beyond its traditional role as a monitor of ceasefires. Today, UN missions engage in such tasks as assisting political transitions, building institutions, fostering the spread of the rule of law, supporting economic reconstruction, supervising elections, disarming militias and former combatants, facilitating humanitarian aid and re-settling refugees and displaced persons.
Since the first UN Peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 2,980 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease. On 29 May, UN offices, alongside Member States and non-governmental organizations, hold solemn events to honor fallen peacekeepers.
The commemoration of this day by the World Veterans Federation, which has maintained General Consultative Status with the UN since 1951 and was designated as a Peace Messenger in 1987, will heighten public awareness of UN activities in maintaining international peace and security.