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UN awards medals posthumously to personnel who served cause of peace

UN awards medals posthumously to personnel who served cause of peace

At a medal ceremony today posthumously honouring United Nations personnel who died last year while working in missions around the world, the top peacekeeping official grieved the loss while urging greater efforts to end violent conflicts.

“One hundred and seven of our colleagues and friends from 46 countries lost their lives while in the service of UN peace operations during 2006,” Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the ceremony, which was held at UN Headquarters in New York.

“We can only grieve with their families and loved ones and be grateful and humbled for their courage and selflessness,” he said, voicing gratitude also to “the Member States where these heroes come from.”

The contribution of these countries to UN peacekeeping “bears witness to the great importance the international community attaches to this unique and vital endeavour,” Mr. Guéhenno said, according to the text of his remarks.

“It reassures that United Nations peacekeeping remains a powerful expression of the extraordinary vision of international solidarity for peace which was enshrined in the United Nations Charter more than half a century ago.”

He called on all concerned “to work even harder for the cause of peace, to join us in the efforts to rid the word of violent conflict once and for all.”

Today’s ceremony built on commemorations that began yesterday on the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, which is marked each year on 29 May, the date in 1948 when the first United Nations peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations.