The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is held annually on May 29. It is an opportunity to appreciate the invaluable contribution of the uniformed and civilian personnel who work for the organization. The day honors over 4,000 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the U.N. flag since its inception in 1948. Officially established by the General Assembly of the U.N., the day marks the date when the first U.N. peacekeeping mission was named the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (U.N.T.S.O.) in 1948. It coincided with the year U.N.T.S.O. began operations in Palestine.
History of International Day of UN Peacekeepers
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is observed around the world annually on May 29. It is an important day to show appreciation for the brave men and women who risked their lives to maintain peace over the past 70 years. U.N. Peacekeeping has unique strengths and the ability to deploy troops and police from around the world to bring resolution to areas where is conflict. The nature of these operations changes and is dictated by what is needed to resolve the relevant crises. Different methods and tactics ensure that tasks at hand are accomplished and human rights protected. Many young peacekeepers are deployed around the world. Youth groups play a significant role in helping to make sure that the missions implement their mandated activities.
The first U.N. peacekeeping mission took place on May 29, 1948, when the Security Council deployed a small number of U.N. military observers to the Middle East when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (U.N.T.S.O.) was formed. Their purpose was to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Since then, there have been about 72 successful U.N. peacekeeping operations that have saved the lives of millions of people around the world.
On the holiday, the Secretary-General lays a wreath to pay tribute to all fallen peacekeepers under the U.N. flag for their service and sacrifice, often under difficult and dangerous conditions. Offices of the United Nations, including the Member States and non-governmental organizations, usually hold various events. The theme for 2022 is ‘People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships.’
International Day of UN Peacekeepers timeline
U.N.T.S.O. is established to monitor peace after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
The United Nations embarks on the first peacekeeping mission.
The holiday is officially created by the United Nations General Assembly to honor peacekeepers.
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is celebrated for the first time.
International Day of UN Peacekeepers FAQs
Who are Peacekeepers?
Peacekeepers are considered to be the military component of a peacekeeping operation. These operations are carried out by the U.N. to facilitate the peaceful resolution of conflicts around the world.
Are there many peacekeepers?
Military personnel who work under the Blue Helmet of the U.N. are first and foremost members of their own national armies and are seconded to work under the command and control of the U.N. There are over 97,000 U.N. uniformed personnel coming from over 120 countries.
What are peacekeeping operations for?
Peacekeeping operations help to maintain security, support political processes, protect civilians, provide humanitarian assistance, and strengthen the rule of law.
How to Observe International Day of UN Peacekeepers
Appreciate a peacekeeper
You can show appreciation to a peacekeeper you may know. You can do this by thanking them, treating them, or taking them out for coffee.
Learn more about the operations
Learn more about the work that the U.N. does to maintain peace around the world. You will be happy to know that you are updated on current events.
Do something relaxing
Take the time to enjoy the luxury of a calm and relaxing moment. You can just relax and enjoy the things that bring you peace.
5 Interesting Facts About The United Nations
Many people have contributed
Over one million people have contributed to the UN’s peacekeeping operations.
Many countries are involved
There are 121 member countries part of the U.N. that contribute troops to peacekeeping operations.
France makes major contributions
France is the second-largest provider of troops among the five permanent members of the Security Council.
The peacekeeping operations are large
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (M.I.N.U.S.M.A.) is the largest peacekeeping operation with 18,349 personnel.
There are small peacekeeping operations
The smallest peacekeeping operation is U.N.M.O.G.I.P. in India and Pakistan, with 110 personnel
Why International Day of UN Peacekeepers is Important
It promotes peace
Peacekeepers aim to maintain peace around the world. Their efforts help to keep people safe and avoid wars.
It supports peacekeepers
The holiday provides encouragement and support for peacekeepers. It allows them to feel appreciated for their efforts and to receive the help they need to work efficiently.
It creates awareness
The holiday helps to spread the word about the efforts of the U.N. peacekeepers. It allows the general public to stay informed about the status of the operations.
International Day of UN Peacekeepers dates