May 29th, 2016 10:27 EST
New Stamps for International Day of UN Peacekeepers Unveiled
Ahead of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers " celebrated annually on 29 May " the UN Postal Administration (UNPA) today announced the issuance of a set of six new stamps for the occasion.
On this day, we continue to honour the memory of those who gave their lives to the cause of peace, and pay tribute to all men and women who carry on their legacy by serving in the field, " the association said. UNPA is proud to issue stamps that feature images of the important work of UN peacekeepers around the world. "
The stamps will be issued jointly with the Austrian Post on Sunday, and a pre-launch ceremony will be held tomorrow at the World Stamp Show in New York, UNPA said.
The UNPA said the stamps can be purchased at unstamps.org, as well as at UNPA stamp shops in New York, Geneva and Vienna.
The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 in tribute to all the men and women serving in peace operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, as well as to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.
The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the world body`s first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.
The 2016 observance of the Day marks the eighth successive year in which the Organization has honoured more than 100 Blue Helmets " who lost their lives in the previous year while serving the cause of peace.
While the official Day is on 29 May, UN Headquarters in New York this year celebrated on 19 May, under the theme Honouring Our Heroes.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presided over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the nearly 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. He also presided over a ceremony during which the Dag HammarskjÃ¶ld Medal was awarded posthumously to the 129 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2015.
In addition, Mr. Ban led an inaugural ceremony to award the Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional Courage. The first such medal was presented to the family of the late Captain Diagne, who saved hundreds of lives in 1994 while serving as a peacekeeper in Rwanda before succumbing to fatal injury incurred while on duty.
In his message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General stressed that the confidence the world places in UN peacekeeping is reflected in its massive growth " in recent years, in terms of both numbers and complexity.
He noted that 15 years ago, the Organization had fewer than 40,000 military and police personnel. Today, more than 105,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police-contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside 18,000 international and civilian staff and UN volunteers.
They manifest the best attributes of global solidarity, courageously serving in dangerous environments to provide security to some of the world`s most vulnerable, " the Secretary-General said.
UN offices, alongside Member States and non-governmental organizations, hold solemn events throughout 29 May to honour fallen peacekeepers.
UN peacekeeping operations mark the Day each year by strengthening bonds with the local populations on whose behalf they serve. They hold sporting events, visits to schools and orphanages, art and essay competitions, photo exhibits, neighbourhood clean-ups, tree plantings, concerts, and conferences and workshops on peace issues.
The events held around the world can be tracked under the hashtag #Together4Peace.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia