Tuesday, 28 May 2013

United Nations to honour fallen Rwandan peacekeepers


Four of the fallen peacekeepers served in the United Nations Mission in Darfur.
Five among the fallen peacekeepers that the United Nations will honour at the International Day of UN Peacekeepers tomorrow are former members of Rwandan army and police forces, The New Times has learnt.

They include late Sergeant-Major Jackson Muhanguzi, Pte Innocent Muhayimana, SP. Camarade Rukabu, and Sgt Jean Claude Tubanambazi who all served in the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), as well as Sgt Ally Hassan Bisangwa who served in the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The late servicemen are among 103 peacekeepers in total who died last year and the UN will posthumously confer them the Dag Hammarskjold medal to celebrate their bravery at the annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal--which is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General of the United Nations who died in a plane crash in 1961- is a posthumous award given by the UN to military personnel, police, or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

The UN has dedicated this year’s International Day of Peacekeepers to highlighting new developments and challenges in the field, where peacekeeping operations take place and how the body is prepared to adapt to changes.

New approach to peacekeeping

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to explain how the “United Nations peacekeeping is increasingly called on to deploy multi-dimensional operations to help countries transition from conflict to peace, with a significant focus on protecting civilians, including the most vulnerable among them: women and children.”

“To meet emerging threats and rise to new challenges, United Nations peacekeeping is adapting its policies to better fulfil its mandates to bring lasting peace to war-torn countries,” Ban says in a speech released ahead of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

The diplomat notes that the world is witnessing new approaches to peacekeeping operations in places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where the Security Council has authorised the deployment of an “Intervention Brigade” with a mandate to use force against belligerents and deployed unarmed and unmanned aerial vehicles to improve the body’s ability to operate in the Congolese vast region.

Last year alone, 111 peacekeeping personnel died, while more than 3,100 have lost their lives during the UN’s 65-year history of peacekeeping.

“We salute their bravery and mourn their passing,” Ban says.

The current UN peacekeeping mission has more than 111,000 serving soldiers and police from 116 countries. Rwanda is the world’s sixth largest contributor of peacekeepers, maintaining more than 4000 military and police peacekeepers across the world, notably, in Sudan, South Sudan, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia.


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