UNITED NATIONS : UN honours its fallen peacekeepers. The United Nations honoured on Thursday 117 military, police and civilian  personnel from 42 countries, including six Pakistani peacekeepers, who lost their lives serving under the UN flag last year, at a solemn ceremony at the UN headquarters.

The ceremony presided over by Secretary General Antonio Guetteres, marked the annual International Day of UN peacekeepers in which Hammarskjold Medal awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace, during the preceding year.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of the fallen Pakistani peacekeepers - Police Lance Corporal Tahir Ikram, Police Lance Corporal Adil Jan, Havildar Muhammed Nil Naeem, Havildar Muhammed Shafeeq, NCE Tahir Mahmood and Abrar Sayed.

''I feel deeply honoured and proud on receiving these awards on behalf of the six fallen Pakistani peacekeepers,'' Ambassador Akram told APP after the ceremony.

''There is a steadfast resolve on Pakistan's part to build upon the glorious past to achieve shared goals of peace and security,'' he added. 

In his message on the occasion, the UN chief pointed out that the world body was honouring more than one million women and men, who had served as the UN peacekeepers since 1948.

''We pay tribute to the nearly 4,200 heroes and heroines, who sacrificed their lives in the cause of peace,'' he said.

''And we are reminded an age-old truth : Peace can never be taken for granted. Peace is the Prize,'' he said.

''We are deeply grateful for the 87,000 civilian, police and military personnel bow serving under the UN flag, who are helping to realize the prize of peace worldwide.''

The theme for this year's observance of the day is ''People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships''.

Jean-Perre Lacroix, Under Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said the UN peacekeepers worked on a daily basis to protect vulnerable people in the world's most fragile political and security situations.

''The dangers they face are greater than ever, with increasing global tensions, ever-more complex threats from terrorist attacks to organized crime and the use of improvised explosive devices as well as a surge in mis-and disinformation targeting our missions and the communities we serve,'' he said.

The UN General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN's first peace-keeping mission began operations in Palestine.

Since then, more than one million women and men have served in 72 UN operations. [AFP]


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