The UN will always honour the sacrifice of peacekeepers who put their lives on the line to protect civilians across the world.
That’s one of the tributes paid to blue helmets serving in the Central African Republic (CAR) with the UN Mission, MINUSCA, by UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday, who is on a visit to the country.
More details from Matt Wells.
The Secretary-General landed in the capital of the CAR, Bangui, and headed to MINUSCA’s main base to celebrate and mark United Nations Day with UN staff.
It was also a day of reflection to mark the sacrifice made by dozens of peacekeepers over the decades, who have laid down their lives, in countries such as CAR.
Mr Guterres laid a wreath for fallen peacekeepers, saying that the UN needed to make sure the world “fully appreciates the heroic contributions” they make to protect civilians “sometimes in extremely difficult circumstances”.
He said the UN had to keep the peace “when sometimes the peace is elusive”, which meant sometimes making the ultimate sacrifice to protect those civilians who see the UN flag as symbol of survival and well-being.
“I am very proud to be your colleague,” he told UN staff in CAR, adding that “we are here to serve the people” and sacrifice ourselves if necessary, “for the people we care for”.
He told the assembled peacekeepers that “your example is something I will always remember.”
Matt Wells, United Nations.