Security Council creates new medal to honour ‘exceptional courage’ of UN personnel

8 May 2014

The Security Council today decided to create “the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage” in honour of a United Nations peacekeeper credited with saving hundreds of, perhaps even a thousand, Rwandans from death during the 1994 genocide.

The medal will be awarded to those military, police, civilian UN personnel and associated personnel “who demonstrate exceptional courage, in the face of extreme danger, while fulfilling the mandate of their missions or their functions, in the service of humanity and the United Nations,” according to a resolution unanimously adopted by the Council.

The medal is named after Captain Mbaye Diagne of Senegal, who served with the former UN Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) and saved, unarmed and in the face of extreme danger, hundreds of, perhaps even a thousand, Rwandans from death during the genocide.

Beginning in April 1994, more than 800,000 Tutsis, as well as Hutu and others who opposed the genocide, were killed over the course of over 100 days.

The Council recognized “with the deepest regret” how the family of Captain Diagne never received, after his death, any expressions of appreciation from UN Headquarters for the sacrifices made by their distinguished family member.

The 15-member body requested the Secretary-General to establish, within six months from today, the design of the medal, and to submit in due course to the Security Council the modalities for determining how the recipients of the medal shall be nominated and chosen.

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