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UN to honour the three fallen peacekeepers from India

Corporal Yuvraj Singh, who served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, will be among the three Indians who will be awarded Dag Hammarskjold Medal posthumously on Thursday - the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

The prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, including three men from India, who lost their life serving under the United Nations flag in 2020 and in the first month of this year.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will lay a wreath to honour more than 4,000 UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948 and will preside over a ceremony for the Dag Hammarskjold Medal on Thursday, 27 May 2021 – the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

Among those to be honoured are three peacekeepers from India: Corporal Yuvraj Singh who served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Besides Singh, two civilian peacekeepers, including Ivan Michael Picardo who served with UNMISS and Mulchand Yadav, who worked for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), will also be awarded posthumously.

India is the fifth largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping with more than 5,500 military and police serving in peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, the Middle East, Somalia, South Sudan and the Western Sahara.

The UN Secretary-General will also award the ‘2020 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award’ to Major Steplyne Buyaki Nyaboga a Kenyan military officer who served with the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, (UNAMID). Created in 2016, the Award “recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.”

“Their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten. I express my deep gratitude to the 85,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed in some of the world’s most challenging hotspots to protect the vulnerable and help to build peace. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, as well as the risk of infection, these men and women have pursued their mission while also supporting local authorities in the fight against Covid-19," Guterres said in a message to mark the Day.

The theme for this year’s observance is “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security.” Tens of thousands of young peacekeepers deployed around the world play a key role in helping UN missions implement their mandated activities, with the active participation of young people from host communities.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the UN’s first peacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.

Since then, more than one million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations, directly impacting millions of people, and saving countless lives. Today, UN Peacekeeping deploys more than 89,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.