From the early days of UN peacekeeping to some of today’s most vital operations, Ethiopian men and women have played an important role in the Organization’s efforts to advance peace in the world’s hot spots. The country’s participation in UN-authorised operations dates back to 1951, as part of the UN multinational force in the Korean War.
Ethiopia was also among the countries that sent contingents after the Security Council authorized a UN military presence to help restore order and calm in the Republic of the Congo. Ethiopian troops are seen here in Debre Zeit before departing for the Congo in July 1960.
In February 2010, Ethiopia provided five tactical helicopters to the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). The UN Secretary-General and the Security Council have repeatedly urged Member States to provide “force enablers,” particularly military helicopters, to help protect civilians affected by conflict.
Ethiopia is the largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping with over 8,300 uniformed personnel, the vast majority of them serving in Darfur (UNAMID), Abyei (UNISFA) and South Sudan (UNMISS). The two boys seen here are chatting with UNAMID peacekeepers from Ethiopia in the volatile Gereida area of South Darfur in July 2012.
Two UNAMID mechanics from Ethiopia – Sergeant Meseret Adera and Corporal Seblewengel Demesse – are repairing a vehicle at the workshop at the Gereida team site in South Darfur. UNAMID deployed a battalion from Ethiopia (more than 800 soldiers) to protect civilians in the area in July 2012.
UNAMID troops from Ethiopia and Rwanda escort World Food Programme (WFP) trucks during a trip from El Fasher to Shangil Tobaya, in North Darfur, in February 2014. The journey, nearly 100 kilometres, took more than 8 hours due to difficult road conditions. More than 350 metric tons of goods, basically oil and sorghum, were distributed to internally displaced people in two camps.
“Ethiopia is one of UN peacekeeping’s strongest partners, and is currently our largest contributor of uniformed personnel,” said Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. “We thank Ethiopia for its steadfast support to UN peacekeeping over the decades, and pay tribute to the 118 Ethiopian personnel who have paid the ultimate price in the service of peace.”
Seen here are Ethiopian peacekeepers during a ceremony to mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, in May 2016, in Juba, South Sudan. The event was held at the headquarters of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) under the theme “Honouring Our Heroes.”
UNMISS peacekeepers provide protection at designated times to women when they go out of the Protection of Civilians sites to collect firewood and procure other non-food items. The women face potential threats when leaving the sites and may be subject to harassment, abduction, or sexual violence. In Juba, the Ethiopian contingent provides an armed escort to women in search of firewood.
An Ethiopian peacekeeper with UNMISS accompanies internally displaced women as they collect firewood in Juba. Some of the collected firewood will be used for cooking; some will be sold in the market in the Protection of Civilians site or will be exchanged for food. The military escort is committed to ensuring that the women are allowed to go about their daily tasks, and return in safety. (28 March 2017)
"Women have the right to participate in all jobs,” Brigadier General Zewdu Kiros Gebrekidan of Ethiopia, told UN News in a 2016 interview. Ms. Gebrekidan, who served as Deputy Force Commander for the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) until April 2017, underlined the important role that female soldiers play in peacekeeping missions, including their ability to better connect with children and women within affected communities.