International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Nigerian soldier with UNAMID in Darfur, March 14, 2008. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Victoria K. Holt serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.

As May 29 is International Day of UN Peacekeepers, it is an optimal moment to reflect on the work we support by peacekeeping missions, perhaps the best known symbol of the international community’s efforts for peace. As the UN has noted today, since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, more than 2,990 military, police, and civilian personnel have lost their lives serving in these missions. Certainly we see the challenge today, as missions try to address fresh violence in Syria, Sudan, and the eastern Congo. What is this about?

Like anyone who has visited some of the more than 100,000 people worldwide who serve in UN missions, I am struck by the effort involved. Civilians, police, and military personnel wake up every morning to… more »

On April 5, 2011, President Barack Obama issued the following statement on the situation in Cote d’Ivoire:

"I remain deeply concerned by the security situation in Cote d’Ivoire. I strongly support the role that United Nations peacekeepers are playing as they enforce their mandate to protect civilians, and I welcome the efforts of French forces who are supporting that mission. Tragically, the violence that we are seeing could have been averted had Laurent Gbagbo respected the results of last year’s presidential election. To end this violence and prevent more bloodshed, former President Gbagbo must stand down immediately, and direct those who are fighting on his behalf to lay down their arms. Every day that the fighting persists will bring more suffering, and further delay the future of peace and prosperity that the people of Cote d’Ivoire deserve…