On the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, UNIFIL affirms that its partnerships are key to lasting peace

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30 May 2022

On the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, UNIFIL affirms that its partnerships are key to lasting peace

UNIFIL honoured the contribution of partners in communities, civil society, religious institutions, troop-contributing countries, and others, as the mission marked the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. 

As 29 May fell on a Sunday this year, UNIFIL held its ceremony today at its Naqoura headquarters. 

Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Aroldo Lázaro paid tribute to the tens of thousands of UN peacekeepers who have served with UNIFIL over its 44-year existence, including over 11,000 military and civilian personnel serving today.  

“I join the world today in paying tribute to the bravery and commitment of our civilian and military peacekeepers,” he told peacekeepers and the assembled audience. “Here in Lebanon, you have made an incredible difference, as shown by the unprecedented almost 16-year period of stability we have seen.” 

Noting the theme of this year’s Peacekeepers’ Day – “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships” – he acknowledged the mission’s many partners. 

“We could not do our work without our numerous partners in communities, civil society, religious institutions, the media, governments, troop-contributing countries, UN institutions, and others,” he continued. “And we could not accomplish all that we do without our strategic partners, the Lebanese Armed Forces, with whom we work and coordinate with each and every day. Our strong relationship with the LAF has proven critical to maintaining calm and stability in our area of operations and along the Blue Line.” 

During the ceremony, Major General Lázaro and a representative of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) laid wreaths in tribute to fallen peacekeepers. Since 1978, 324 UNIFIL peacekeepers have given their lives to the cause of peace in south Lebanon. Over 4,000 UN peacekeepers have lost their lives on missions around the world since 1948. The UNIFIL head also presented the Dag Hammarskjöld medal to the family of a UNIFIL peacekeeper who lost his life while serving for peace. 

“We honour their memories by continuing our work to accomplish the mission for which they made the ultimate sacrifice: the goal of a lasting peace,” said Lázaro. 

In 2002, 29 May was designated as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication, and courage of the military and civilian peacekeepers serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and to remember those who lost their lives for the cause of peace. The date was chosen to commemorate the establishment of the first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), whose more than 50 observers currently work with UNIFIL for peace and stability in south Lebanon. 

On the occasion, UNIFIL also announced the launch of its new TikTok account, @unifilpeacekeepers, showcasing videos about the mission’s activities.