Harare – UNIC, Ministry of Defence, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons Service held a week-long educational awareness campaign in Masvingo province in commemoration of the International Day of the United Nations Peacekeeper from 28 May to 1 June 2012.
Through this campaign, 121 secondary schools were reached with information on the United Nations, its main organs and on the origins of peacekeeping. The pupils were also given information on UN peacekeeping and the role of the army, police and prisons services in UN peacekeeping.
The week-long educational awareness concluded with a procession in central Masvingo involving UNIC, Ministry of Defence, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons Service. In the evening, the Masvingo Province Governor Mr Maluleke hosted a dinner for all the former blue berets present at this commemoration.
The United Nations Secretary General’s statement on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers was read. In his statement, the Secretary General said the Day was an occasion to pay tribute to the 120,000 peacekeepers serving in 17 missions in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments.
“This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers. In 2011, 112 men and women died devoting their lives to peace. In the first four months of this year, another 27 peacekeepers have died while serving the United Nations” he said.
Altogether, more than 2900 peacekeepers have lost their lives in the line of duty over the years. Currently, 116 Member States contribute military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping operations.
Zimbabwean forces have contributed forces to peacekeeping missions in Angola, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Kosovo, among other countries.
“I am deeply grateful for every contribution of troops and police, as well as for the financial and material resources that make peacekeeping possible. I also thank all countries that provide political support and leadership. Members of the Security Council, in particular, guide and strengthen our work by establishing mandates and updating our deployments to respond to changing conditions on the ground,” said Ban ki-Moon.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was set aside by the United Nations to pay tribute to men, women and civilians who have served and who continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations.