Opening remarks by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the Commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers 2020 – Women in Peacekeeping: A Key to Peace.
“(…)The pandemic has required us to hold the ceremonies for the Military Gender Advocate Award and the Dag Hammarskjold Medal virtually.
But what the virus has not changed is the service, sacrifice and selflessness of the more than 95,000 women and men serving in 13 peacekeeping operations around the world.
Every day, our peacekeepers continue to protect vulnerable local populations, support dialogue and implement their mandates while fighting COVID-19.
They are doing everything they can to be an integral part of the solution to this crisis while keeping themselves – and the communities they serve – safe.
As always, they give the United Nations family many reasons to be proud.
But the virus is not the only threat that our peacekeepers face. Hostile acts, improvised explosive devices, accidents and diseases continue to take a heavy toll.
Today, with the awarding of the Dag Hammarskjold medal, we pay tribute to the 83 military, police and civilian personnel from 39 countries who lost their lives last year serving in UN peace operations.
I honor their memory and express my deepest condolences to their families. I hope that this medal offers them a measure of comfort (…)” – António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations [Excerpt].