The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, declared that “for civilians trapped in the hell of the conflict, our ‘blue helmets’ are a beacon of hope and protection.”
The UN secretary-general on Thursday paid tribute to the 103 “blue helmets” who died in 2022, calling UN peacekeeping elements a “beacon of hope and protection” for trapped civilians. in various conflicts.
When commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, António Guterres pointed out that more than 4,200 “blue helmets” were assassinated for the cause of peace, 103 of them last year. past, coming from 39 countries of the 125 that contribute operationally to the 12 UN missions around the world.
During the last 75 years, more than two million “blue helmets” have served under the banner of the UN.
“For civilians trapped in the hell of conflict, our ‘blue helmets’ are a beacon of hope and protection. They support security, stability and the rule of law in host countries. They represent the beating heart of the United Nations commitment to peace,” Guterres said at the UN headquarters in New York.
After laying a wreath at the memorial that honors the women and men who died during UN-coordinated peace missions, Guterres indicated that there are 87,000 “blue helmets” currently facing a series of growing tensions and global divisions, with “conflicts that are turning into more complex and stagnant peace processes”.
“Unfortunately, our peacekeepers are increasingly working in places where there is no peace to keep. We must seriously reflect on the need for a new generation of peacekeeping missions and operations to combat terrorism, led by our partners with a mandate from the UN Security Council, with guaranteed financing, that is, through fixed contributions,” he appealed. .
Among the main problems faced by UN peacekeeping missions, the former Portuguese Prime Minister highlighted the terrorism, armed groups, gang violence and transnational crimes that “poison entire communities, countries and regions”.
In addition, the digital world has also become “a terrifying frontier of tension, division, hatred and misinformation,” the secretary general valued.
For his part, the Assistant Secretary General for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, stressed that the greatest challenge facing peace operations is the same one that the United Nations faces: “the growing division” within of the international community, that is, within the Security Council.
Lacroix criticized the divisions between the great powers in the UN Security Council, saying that these divisions weaken the international organization’s peacekeeping forces.
In statements to the press, Lacroix also highlighted that the attacks against the “blue helmets” are “increasingly violent and sophisticated” and that there is more and more misinformation and false information to be used against peace missions.