An Indian peacekeeper is among the 119 military, police andcivilian personnel who will be honoured this year with a prestigious UN medalthis year for courage and sacrifice in the line of duty.
Police Officer Jitender Kumar made the supreme sacrificewhile serving in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DemocraticRepublic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
He will be honoured with the Dag Hammarskjold Medal onFriday as the world organisation observes the International Day of UnitedNations Peacekeepers.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador SyedAkbaruddin would collect the medal on behalf of the fallen Indian peacekeeperat a solemn ceremony here.
India is the fourth largest contributor of uniformedpersonnel to the UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes more than 6,400military and police personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, Cyprus, theDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, the Middle East, South Sudanand the Western Sahara.
According to the UN information last year, India has lostthe highest number of its peacekeepers deployed in various UN peacekeepingoperations in the last 70 years, with 163 military, police and civilianpersonnel from the country making the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
Of the 3,737 peacekeepers who have died since 1948, 163 havebeen from India.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will preside over theceremony this week at which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal will be awardedposthumously to 119 military, police and civilian peacekeepers, who lost theirlives in 2018 and early 2019.
The commemoration of the International Day of United NationsPeacekeepers will begin with the UN Chief laying a wreath to honour all UNpeacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948, when the UN's firstpeacekeeping mission, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), beganoperations in Palestine.
In a video message, the Secretary-General said the day honoursmore than one million men and women who have served as UN peacekeepers sincethe first UN mission in 1948.
"We remember that more than 3,800 personnel paid theultimate price. And we express our deepest gratitude to the 100,000 civilian,police and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today and to thecountries that contribute these brave and dedicated women and men."
The Secretary-General added that this year, the UnitedNations marks 20 years since the Security Council first mandated a peacekeepingmission to protect civilians.
"Peacekeepers protect men, women and children fromviolence every day, often at great personal risk."
Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-PierreLacroix said UN Peacekeeping deploys to some of the most complex and difficultplaces, protecting some of the world's most vulnerable.
"We are working in partnership with Member States toimplement the Secretary-General's Action for Peacekeeping initiative tostrengthen peacekeeping, including to improve how we protect civilians, whichis at the heart of our work. For hundreds of millions, peacekeeping is the lastbest hope and it needs all our support," he said.
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers wasestablished by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men andwomen serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have losttheir lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated May 29 asthe International Day of UN Peacekeepers.