UN unanimously backs India’s proposal for monument to honor peacekeepers

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A UN Peacekeeper helping civilians. PHOTO: Twitter @unmissmedia

The world organization’s members have unanimously backed India’s efforts to honor with a monument the more than 4,300 Blue Helmets who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of peace.

The General Assembly on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, adopted a resolution proposed by India and co-sponsored by 190 members to create the peacekeepers’ memorial that India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said will “ensure that their sacrifice is not forgotten, their memories are honoured”.

The highest number of peacekeepers from any country killed in UN operations – 178 – is from India, which has contributed the most number of personnel for peacekeeping.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally made the proposal for the memorial in 2015 at the UN summit and offered to pay for it.

Paying his “homage to the peacekeepers who have laid down their lives in defending the highest ideals of the United Nations”, he said. “It would be most fitting if the proposed memorial wall to the fallen Peacekeepers is created quickly”.

It has taken nearly eight years for the proposal to wend its way through the UN system and the resolution has put a three-year deadline for its completion.

n Indian soldier/trainee serving as UN Peacekeeper. PHOTO: Twitter @UNPeacekeeping

The memorial to be constructed in the UN headquarters’ campus is expected to be ready in time for the 80th anniversary of the UN’s founding in 2025.

Introducing the resolution, Kamboj acknowledged that creating the memorial wall will be a “complex affair” and its shape, size and location and the display of the names to be determined.

It will honor the “brave men and women [who] came from different parts of the world, practiced different faiths and followed different cultures” but “were united by their commitment to the cause of peace, their spirit of selfless sacrifice, their professionalism and their resolve to bring succour to lives riven by conflict”, she said.

“These peacekeepers made the supreme sacrifice in the pursuit of mandates that we, as member states, requested them to carry out”, she said.

The monument will “be a source of solace for the near and dear ones of the Bravehearts who made the supreme sacrifice, including their serving comrades and colleagues”, she added.

A measure of the unity around paying homage to the peacekeeping heroes was the support of Pakistan, which had moments earlier attacked India at the Assembly on a different issue, but joined in as one of the main co-sponsors of the monument resolution. Kamboj named it while thanking those whose efforts helped moved the resolution.

From Pakistan, 168 peacekeepers have died in UN operations. Other countries she listed included Bangladesh (with 166 peacekeepers dying in UN operations), Nepal (90), China and the United States.

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