This year, as we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we reflect on the history of peacekeeping and the positive impact peacekeepers have had on the communities they serve.
Over the past seven decades, more than 1 million men and women have served under the UN flag in more than 70 peacekeeping operations. Peacekeepers have long been the best chance for peace for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. Their service and sacrifice — frequently under harsh and dangerous conditions– has made the Blue Helmet a symbol of hope for millions of people.
Today, close to 100,000 peacekeepers are serving in 13 operations around the world. At every hour of every day, peacekeepers are conducting operational activities and patrols to protect civilians, prevent conflict, uphold the rule of law, build local capacities, empower women and protect human rights.
Over the last several months, peacekeepers have continued to perform these critical duties while confronting another global threat to peace and security — the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the additional operational challenges and health risks that the virus presents, peacekeepers continue to protect the most vulnerable and deliver on their mandates while supporting the local fight against the virus.Since the first mission in 1948, generations of peacekeepers have established a legacy of service and sacrifice as they have helped countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace. The below photo essay captures this long history, as peacekeepers continue to ensure peace and stability through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.In 1948, the Security Council established the first group of military observers — the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) — to supervise implementation of the Israel-Arab Armistice Agreements. UNTSO Military Observers remain in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other United Nations peacekeeping operations in the region.