Secretary-General to Commemorate Fallen ‘Blue Helmets’, Honour 2019 Military Gender Advocates, as United Nations Marks Day of Peacekeepers, 29 May

As Headquarters observes the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Friday, 29 May, Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all “Blue Helmets” who have lost their lives since 1948, and preside over a ceremony to award posthumously the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal to the 83 military, police and civilian peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2019.

The Secretary-General will also present the “2019 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award” to Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo, a Brazilian naval officer serving with the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and Major Suman Gawani from India, who served in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).  Created in 2016, the Award “recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 [2000] on women, peace and security”.  This is the first year the Award has gone to more than one peacekeeper.

In a video message to mark Peacekeepers Day, the Secretary-General said: “Today we honour more than 1 million men and women who have served as United Nations peacekeepers and the more than 3,900 who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  We also express our gratitude to the 95,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed around the world.  They are facing one of the greatest challenges ever:  delivering on their peace and security mandates while helping countries to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He added:  “The theme of this year’s observance — women in peacekeeping — highlights their central role in our operations.  Women often have greater access in the communities we serve, enabling us to improve the protection of civilians, promote human rights and enhance overall performance; yet, women continue to represent only 6 per cent of uniformed military, police, justice and corrections personnel in field missions.  As we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, we must do more to achieve women’s equal representation in all areas of peace and security.”

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said:  “As our peacekeepers continue to carry out their essential work amidst the constraints presented by COVID-19, ensuring women’s meaningful, equal and full participation in peace operations, as well as in peace and political processes, is key to protecting civilians and building durable peace.”

He continued:  “Women who serve in peace operations play an essential role in helping communities in the fight against COVID-19.  They must be a central part of all international, national and local responses.”

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.  The Assembly designated 29 May as the date for the observance in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the Organization’s first, began its operations.

Schedule of Events at Headquarters on 29 May

9:30 a.m.:  The Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site on the North Lawn.  Only UN Photo will cover the ceremony.

10 a.m.:  The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal and Military Gender Advocate of the Year award ceremonies will be held virtually and shown live on UN Webcast:

12 noon:  Under-Secretary-General Lacroix will be the guest at the noon briefing.  It will be webcast live at

For further information, please contact Douglas Coffman, Department of Global Communications, at tel./WhatsApp:  +1 917 361-9923, or e-mail:; or Aditya Mehta, Department of Peace Operations, at tel./WhatsApp:  +1 917 775-4249 or e-mail:; or visit the Peacekeepers Day website at, or the United Nations Peacekeeping website at


Source: United Nations