UNIFIL observes the International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Peacekeepers representing 40 national contingents march ahead of a UNIFIL ceremony marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

UNIFIL peacekeepers pay a guard of honour during a ceremony marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

UNIFIL Acting Head of Mission Imran Riza (second from right) and Acting Force Commander Brigadier General Sandeep Singh Bajaj pay tribute to 325 UNIFIL peacekeepers, who lost their lives while serving the cause of peace in south Lebanon.

Lebanese Armed Forces representative Brigadier General Abbas Zamasalutes at the UNIFIL cenotaph.

On a return visit by UNIFIL Dutch veterans they received a welcome from UNIFIL’s head Major General Michael Beary

UNIFIL Swedish veterans share images of the UNIFIL hospital from 1979.

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29 May 2017

UNIFIL observes the International Day of UN Peacekeepers

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) today observed the International Day of UN Peacekeepers at its headquarters in Naqoura, vowing to advance its partnership with Lebanese authorities and local leaders in maintaining a safe and stable environment in south Lebanon.

“Today, I wish to pay tribute to all peacekeepers – men and women, civilian and military – who serve selflessly, tirelessly and courageously in UNIFIL every day. Your work is a source of pride for the United Nations every day of the year,” said the acting Head of Mission, Imran Riza, in his address to UNIFIL peacekeepers.
“As you know, peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. It is a flagship enterprise of the United Nations,” he added.

The UN General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in February 2003 in order to pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The global theme of this year’s observance is “Investing in Peace Around the World.”

UNIFIL peacekeepers representing 40 national contingents and civilian personnel were joined at today’s event by Mr. Riza, Acting Force Commander Brigadier General Sandeep Singh Bajaj, the representative of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Commander Brigadier General Abbas Zamat as well as representatives of the State Security Forces, Governors and religious leaders.

Brigadier General Bajaj reviewed a Guard of Honour, and together with Mr. Riza and LAF Brigadier General Zamat, laid wreaths at the cenotaph in memory of the 325 UNIFIL peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty in South Lebanon since the Mission’s establishment in 1978.

In his address, Mr. Riza hailed the strong mutual respect and friendship between UNIFIL and the people of south Lebanon as “extremely rewarding and motivating.”

“In our efforts to keep the peace, we will continue to work closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Lebanese authorities – and to rely on the bond of friendship with the people of south Lebanon,” he said.

While reading out Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for this year’s observance, Mr. Riza said UN peacekeeping missions are intended to be short-term investments that provide long-term dividends by creating the time and space for political processes to unfold.

Currently, more than 113,000 peacekeepers (military, Police and civilian personnel) serve in 16 missions worldwide. More than 10,500 military personnel and about 900 civilians currently serve in UNIFIL. 

Many UNIFIL veterans who served in south Lebanon in the past frequently come back to see the progress made in the area in addition to contributing to the local economy.  

Referring to some of those visits carried out recently, Mr. Riza said their efforts and sacrifices contributed to the prevailing peace and stability the area is now enjoying.

Video Camera: Mohamad Hamze, Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Video Editor: Suzane Baderddine, Aoibheann O’Sullivan
Photos: Pascual Gorriz
Infographics: Zeina Ezzeddine

Speech of Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Imran Riza