Annan says 115 UN peacekeepers killed in 2004
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Tehran, May 29, IRNA
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Sunday 115 UN peacekeepers were killed in the service of peace in 2004 to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.
Annan, in his message on the occasion of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, 29 May 2005, said, "Today, we honor the sacrifice of UN peacekeepers from many lands who have laid down their lives in the service of peace, and we rededicate ourselves to the noble calling of peacekeeping."
He said one hundred and fifteen colleagues were killed in the service of peace during 2004.
Annan added by the start of 2005, another 39 have made the ultimate sacrifice, including nine Bangladeshi soldiers who were brutally murdered in February in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the worst single attack on peacekeepers in over a decade.
He said with sadness and pride, he pays tribute to each and every one of his fallen colleagues.
Currently, he said, more than 66,000 uninformed personnel and almost 15,000 civilians are serving the cause of peace in 17 peacekeeping operations around the globe.
They are maintaining ceasefires and monitoring borders, disarming former combatants, fostering reconciliation, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance, helping refugees and displaced persons to return home, and ensuring conditions for democratic elections, the rule of law, reconstruction and economic recovery, he said.
He noted the demand for UN peacekeeping is as high as it has ever been and said, "Indeed, we have more missions deployed than ever before. As we mark this day, a large operation is being deployed in Sudan, where a 21-year war costing millions of lives came to an end with a peace agreement in January.
"At the same time, peacekeeping operations in Timor-Leste and Sierra Leone are ending with new democratic governments in place and the understanding among the people that peace is a reality, not just a hope or a dream."
The secretary-general said while such successes in UN peacekeeping often do not receive due attention, failings are widely and justifiably publicized.
Cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by individuals serving in several missions have damaged lives, threatened security and tarnished the reputation of UN peacekeeping, he added.
"I have proposed sweeping changes to prevent misconduct and enforce UN standards of conduct. Some important reforms have already been implemented, but more must follow, as we work to stamp out such abuse," he further stated.
He also added it is also a day to thank the 103 member states who contribute uninformed personnel to UN peacekeeping.
"I particularly acknowledge the contributions of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, which together provide more than one third of all UN peacekeepers."
He expressed his satisfaction over new responsibilities that countries such as China and Brazil are taking on new responsibilities and hoped that other countries - particularly developed countries which have unique capacities to meet some of the specific needs of peacekeeping - will follow suit.
UN peacekeepers work every day to give practical meaning to the words of the United Nations Charter "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war".
On this day, we honor all who have served, and serve today, in the front lines of peace, he further stated.
::IRNA No.015 29/05/2005 13:43 --End
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