A solemn ceremony marking the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers under the global theme UN70 and UN Peacekeeping: Past, present and future, was held at the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) headquarters in Monrovia, bringing together senior officials of the Liberian Government, the United Nations family, members of the Diplomatic Corps, non-governmental organizations and other partners.
The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Joseph N. Boakai, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Coordinator of United Nations Operations in Liberia, Karin Landgren, laid wreaths in memory of fallen peacekeepers.
“The Liberian people cannot repeat enough how grateful and blessed they are for the sacrifices the world community, through these international peacekeepers, have made to save, stabilize, and propel our country, lifting her onto the path of true nationhood.”, said Vice President H. E. Joseph N. Boakai.
“This year’s theme is particularly appropriate in Liberia as the Government, with UNMIL’s support, proceeds with the transition of all security tasks from UNMIL to the Liberian security sector,” said Landgren. “This transition gives us an opportunity to reflect on the 12 years of peace since the civil conflict ended and UNMIL deployed in October 2003.”
“As we reflect today on the peace Liberia enjoys, let us recognize the confidence the UN Security Council vested in Liberia in setting the deadline of 30 June 2016 for the country to assume full responsibility for all aspects of national security,” said the SRSG, adding that much still needs to be done to achieve a coordinated, accountable, and democratic security sector in Liberia.
Paying tribute to the16 personnel from UNMIL who lost their lives in the service of peace over the past 12 months, Landgren conveyed her heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones. “We remember each of our fallen colleagues with pride and gratitude for their commitment to make peace a reality for the people we serve,” she said.
Landgren commended all Liberians for their commitment to keep their country at peace. She also commended her UN colleagues, military, police and civilian peacekeepers for their profound and positive impact on Liberia.
The program at the UN Headquarters in Monrovia also included a colorful parade by five different UNMIL military and police contingents, who were joined by representatives of the Armed Forced of Liberia (AFL) Liberian National Police (LNP) and Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN). Other activities in Monrovia included an open air Photo exhibition held at the Monrovia City hall, and a panel discussion on “Applying Lessons from Ebola to the Security Transition.” The UN Secretary-General’s message was read at ceremonies marking the day at UNMIL field offices across Liberia.