Secretary-General António Guterres (right) lays a wreath in honour of all peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. UN Photo/Mark Garten.

UN Secretary-General lays wreaths and awards medals to honour fallen UN peacekeepers

The United Nations held a wreath-laying ceremony at its headquarters today to mark the 2017 International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. UN Secretary-General António Guterres presided over the commemoration and awarded the Dag Hammarskjöld medal to UN peacekeepers who have fallen during 2016.

The UN Secretary-General laid a wreath to commemorate those who have fallen while serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations over the last year. In addition, the Secretary-General presided over the ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld medals were awarded posthumously to 117 military, police, international and national civilian personnel, including UN Volunteers, who perished in the service of peace.

Three UN Volunteers were among this year's Dag Hammarskjöld medal recipients.

Ms. Anita Andreevska Mitrovska (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) was killed during the attack that took place on 13 March, 2016 in Grand-Bassam, outside of Abidjan. She had arrived in Côte d’Ivoire on 28 December, 2015, to take up her assignment as Camp Manager in Anankouakouté  for the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). Anita had also served as a UN Volunteer from 2012 to 2015 in Afghanistan.

Ms. Om Dorji (Bhutan) served at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and passed away on 23 September, 2016. The late Ms. Dorji first joined UNV as an International UN Volunteer in Afghanistan (UNV Administration and Finance Officer) in January 2005, where she served for almost two years. She then served as UNV Country Operations Assistant and Programme Assistant to the Resident Coordinator in UNDP/UNRCO Bhutan from March 2007 to September 2012. She was then deployed to Monrovia, Liberia, in October 2012, as a UNV Administration Officer with the Procurement Section and finally, with the Engineering Section of UNMIL.     

Ms. Salamata Bocar Ly (Mauritania) joined the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on July 2015 as a translator in the office of the Deputy Director of Mission Support. Salamata began her professional career as a professor of French and English. Over the course of 24 years, she educated and trained young people. Her international career at UNV started in 2002, serving for over five years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the former MONUC (today’s MONUSCO), where her translation skills were highly appreciated.

The three UN Volunteers handled their tasks and responsibilities with outstanding professionalism and team spirit. They were passionate peacebuilders that impacted positively the lives of many.

The Dag Hammarskjöld medal is named for its first recipient, former Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld who lost his life with fifteen others in a plane crash in Africa in 1961, while on a peace mission.

Some 1,600 UN Volunteers are among the 16,000 international and national civilian personnel who tirelessly work with people and communities living at and behind the frontlines.