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"UN peacekeeping operations are now increasingly complex and multi-dimensional,
going beyond monitoring a ceasefire to actually bringing failed States back to
life, often after decades of conflict. The blue helmets and their civilian colleagues
work together to organize elections, enact police and judicial reform, promote
and protect human rights, conduct mine-clearance, advance gender equali-ty, achieve
the voluntary disarmament of former combatants, and support the return of refugees
and displaced people to their homes."
On this International
Day of UN Peacekeepers, let us pay tribute to the men and women from countries
across the world who serve selflessly, tirelessly and fearlessly in UN peacekeeping
operations. Let us remember the heroes who have laid down their lives in lands
far from their own in the service of peace. And let us reaffirm our commitment
to building a world free from the scourge of war.
"Today, we have more than
110,000 men and women deployed in conflict zones around the world. They come from
nearly 120 countries -- an all-time high, reflecting confidence in United Nations
peacekeeping. They come from nations large and small, rich and poor -- some of
them countries recently afflicted by war themselves. They bring different cultures
and experiences to the job, but they are united in their determination to foster
peace. Some are in uniform, but many are civilians and their activities go far
beyond monitoring. They train police, disarm ex-combatants, support elections
and help build State institutions. They build bridges, repair schools, assist
flood victims and protect women from sexual violence. They uphold human rights
and promote gender equality. Thanks to their efforts, life-saving humanitarian
assistance can be delivered and economic development can begin. "
We have voted
time and again in the Security Council, and rightfully so, to support critical
missions in Lebanon, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, and many
others. The UN ‘blue helmets’ are literally on the front lines in conflicts that
are the worst of the worst: protecting civilians, monitoring cease-fires, clearing
mine fields, and disarming combatants. Through UN peacekeeping, the U.S. contributes
to international peace and stability where we have critical foreign policy interests,
while sharing the human, political and financial costs with other nations. We
should not shortchange these operations.”
-- US Senator Joe Biden
One means of paying
attention to smaller countries that have sometimes been overlooked is by revitalizing
US leadership in the United Nations. The UN is committed to the goal of ensuring
that all nations share in economic, social, & scientific progress. It delivers
humanitarian assistance to the victims of wars and natural disasters. It provides
a mechanism through which the US can help in dozens of conflicts around the world
in which our vital interests aren’t directly involved but where we feel a more
imperative to respond. Working with the UN’s diplomacy and development arms, we
can prevent minor differences from escalating into wars. When conflicts do break
out, UN peacekeepers should play a role in defusing and settling them. Without
giving up our sovereignty, we can help the UN with better training and better
command and control in order to develop more effective peacekeeping forces.
-– Bill Bradley
United Nations exists not merely to preserve the peace but also to make change
- even radical change - possible without violent upheaval. The United Nations
has no vested interest in the status quo. It seeks a more secure world, a better
world, a world of progress for all peoples. In the dynamic world society which
is the objective of the United Nations, all peoples must have equality and equal
rights. -- Ralph
is not just a colored ribbon. It's more than a wristband or a t-shirt. It's not
just a donation or a 5 K race. It's not just a folk song, or a white dove. And
peace is certainly more than a celebrity endorsement. Peace is a fulltime job.
It's protecting civilians, overseeing elections, and disarming ex-combatants.
The UN has over 100,000 Peacekeepers on the ground, in places others can't or
won't go, doing things others can't or won't do. Peace, like war, must be waged."
-- George Clooney
"For all the civilians saved thanks to the presence
of peacekeepers, there have been those who were lost – the United Nations personnel
who sacrificed their lives for a noble cause. Even as we mourn our fallen colleagues,
we are all uplifted by their unflinching commitment and are inspired to strive
even harder for the collective cause so eloquently envisaged in the United Nations
Charter: a world free from the scourge of war."
-- Jan Eliasson (Former
President of the UN General Assembly)
"A world without
the United Nations or with a paralyzed United Nations would be far more costly
to all of us and far more dangerous to peace and stability."
-- Richard Holbrooke
“The heroes of the world
community are not those who withdraw when difficulties ensue, not those who can
envision neither the prospect of success nor the consequence of failure -- but
those who stand the heat of battle, the fight for world peace through the United
primary, the fundamental, the essential purpose of the United Nations is to keep
peace. Everything it does which helps prevent World War III is good. Everything
which does not further that goal, either directly or indirectly, is at best superfluous.”
-- Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
funds are an important and necessary part of what America does for humanity and
the rest of the world.”
-- US Congressman Michael McCaul
This is the one international
institution we have in which governments get together to work collectively for
a common purpose. International crises, by definition, require international solutions.
Peacekeeping is a response to conflict, is a response to situations in which often
it is not the business of any one particular country to get into. It seems to
me, therefore, that the world will for the foreseeable future need peacekeeping.
-- Shashi Tharoor
“The United Nations
is designed to make possible lasting freedom and independence for all its members”
-- Harry S Truman
your support of UN peacekeeping, you can help to make this tantalizing word—“peace”—a
reality for all the world’s citizens. Together, we can spread the message that
UN peacekeeping is essential. Without it, the world would be a much less stable,
and more violent, place."