UNPKF Current Affairs - 2020

29 MAY: International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers observed

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was observed on May 29 2019. The theme for this year is ‘Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace’.

About International Day of UN Peacekeepers

  • Background: It was instituted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through Resolution 57/129 in December 2002. It was chosen to mark 20th anniversary of UN Security Council’s (UNSC) first explicitly mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians viz. UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) from 1999 until 2005.
  • The date 29 was chosen as it marks establishment of first UN peacekeeping mission was on this day in 1948, when UN Security Council (UNSC) authorized deployment of small number of UN military observers to Middle East.
  • Importance: The day is celebrated to honour memory of more than 3,800 UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives while rendering peacekeeping services. It also pays tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations across the world for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage.

About India and UNPKF

  • India is the 4th largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. Currently, it contributes about 6,400 peacekeepers to various missions across the world. India also has largest percentage of women in police force, at around 32%, contribution to the future of peacekeeping.

UN Dag Hammarskjöld Medal: awarded to Late Jitender Kumar

Indian peacekeeper, Late Jitender Kumar, an Indian Police Officer, is among the 119 military, police and civilian personnel who will be honoured with this year’s prestigious UN medal called Dag Hammarskjöld Medal for courage and sacrifice in line of duty.

About Dag Hammarskjöld Medal

  • About: It is a posthumous award which is given to members of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations who have lost their life while serving in peacekeeping operations.
  • Background: It was established in 22 July 1997 by UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1121, adopted on occasion of 50th anniversary of peacekeeping.
  • The medal is named after Dag Hammarskjöld, who was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations. He died in a plane crash in 1961 while en route to cease-fire negotiations during Congo Crisis. The first Medal was presented to the family of Dag Hammarskjöld in 1998.

About Jitender Kumar

  • Late Indian Police Officer Jitender Kumar laid down his while serving in the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission (UNOSM) in the Central African country of Congo.
  • He will be honoured posthumously with Dag Hammarskjold Medal on observance of International Day of UN Peacekeepers (29 May).
  • On behalf of the fallen Indian peacekeeper the medal would be collected by Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador at a solemn ceremony which will take place at the UN in New York.
  • India is the 4th largest contributor of uniformed personnel (Blue Helmet) to UNPKF. It is currently contributing more than 6,400 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in West Asia, Western Sahara, Congo, Lebanon, Abyei, Cyprus, Haiti, and South Sudan.