Press Release

UN Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 27 May

26 May 2021

UN Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Thursday, 27 May 2021. Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to honour the more than 4,000 UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948 and will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, who lost their life serving under the UN flag last year and in the first month of this year. 

Among those to be posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medal are two civilian peacekeepers from Jordan:  Mr. Shaker I.H. Alkhyami and Mr. Ziad Mohd Hussein Abu Sakran who both served in the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, (UNAMID). 

In a message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said of the fallen peacekeepers:

“Their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.”  He further said: “I express my deep gratitude to the 85,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed in some of the world’s most challenging hotspots to protect the vulnerable and help to build peace. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, as well as the risk of infection, these men and women have pursued their mission while also supporting local authorities in the fight against COVID-19. I offer sincere condolences to the families of peacekeepers who have fallen victim to this terrible disease.” 

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “We salute the dedication and bravery of our peacekeepers, who serve and perform admirably in challenging environments only compounded by the ongoing pandemic” He added: “Our peacekeepers deserve our full support, and we must continue to work together to do all we can to improve their safety and security and give them the tools to succeed.” 

During the ceremony, the Secretary-General will also award the ‘2020 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award’ to Major Steplyne Buyaki Nyaboga a Kenyan military officer who served with the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, (UNAMID). Created in 2016, the Award “recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.” 

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.   

Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting millions of people, and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 89,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.  

Jordan is the 35th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN Peacekeeping.  It currently deploys more than 600 military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, South Sudan and Western Sahara. 

UN Headquarters Observes International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on 27 May

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