Celebration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers: The Government and the UN salute the bravery of peacekeepers in DRCMay 29, 2015
Celebration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers: The Government and the UN salute the bravery of peacekeepers in DRC
“The joy of serving and of sacrificing oneself for peace among nations that is seen in peacekeepers should not only be the duty for each but a culture for all”; this is the wish stated by the General Delegate of the Government to the United Nations, in his address for the celebration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, which took place on 29th of May 2015 in Kinshasa.
It was in front of over a hundred people, including delegates from the government, representatives of the United Nations system, diplomatic missions and technical cooperation, representatives of security forces, from the police and army, students, artists, and journalists, that the General Delegate of the Government charged with liaising with MONUSCO and the Special Representative of the Secretary General each, in turn, paid tribute to the agents undertaking the Operations for maintaining peace in the world, some of which paid with their lives for their commitment to this cause.
Some highlights from the celebration: the review of the troops, the depositing of flower wreaths by the Delegate of the Government and the Head of the United Nations Mission for stabilisation in DRC (MONUSCO); speeches and a visit of the exhibition “Art in the service of peace” organised for this occasion.
It was a good opportunity to pay tribute to the considerable contribution Peacekeepers have made to the Organisation, as well as for reaffirming the United Nation’s commitment to making peacekeeping more efficient in coming years.
Speaking on this occasion, the General Delegate to the Government affirmed the “appreciation” the Government and the Congolese felt for the “exceptional contribution” of the United Nations to the restoring of the peace in 1960 and 1999 in DRC. He used this occasion to pay tribute to and salute the memory of the MONUSCO agents, civilian and military, who have died since 2004, when this mission in DRC was created.
During his intervention, the n°1 of the United Nations in DRC Martin Kobler paid tribute to the peacekeepers in these terms: “at the price of years of fighting and sacrifices, you have become a symbol of hope for millions of people who live in war-torn countries. Here in DRC, despite the enormous difficulties we have had to face, you always demonstrated professionalism, devotion and courage”. He added: “It is with admiration that I contemplate your achievements when I travel and walk in the cities but also in the more remote locations of this beautiful country”.
Martin Kobler restated, when addressing the political and military authorities of DRC, that MONUSCO, like all peacekeeping mission across the world, did not aspire to linger in DRC. It will leave DRC, “but”, he affirmed, “we do not want to leave the country behind in conditions that are poorly conducive to peace, security and stability. We want to leave with the feeling of a job well done. The retreat of MONUSCO is going to take place step-by-step and progressively, following the attainment of the specific objectives based on a joint evaluation made between the Government and the UN”.
It was also the moment to recall the history of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, commemorated each year on the 29th of May under (resolution 57/129), to pay tribute to the professionalism, devotion and courage of the Peacekeepers, who serve today in difficult, even explosive, conditions. It is also the opportunity to honour the memory of the 3 300 plus Peacekeepers, 126 of which, men and women, lost their lives in 2014, who gave their lives in the service of peace across the world.
To add a pleasant note to this important event, the exhibition “Art in the service of peace” offered those participating in the ceremony the possibility to discover unique works by young Congolese artists who promote peace through their paint-brushes, pens, crayons or hammers. Rare and unique pieces such as “the survivor of Makabola” or “hope of the life of a disabled person” created with bullet cartridges and recycled metal bars, left all of the visitors speechless. Many of the paintings and sculptures are very beautiful, and the message they send is the same: “let’s make peace, not war”.