Defence Minister General Tea Banh yesterday during a homecoming ceremony for blue helmets lauded their contribution to peace in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Gen Banh presided over a ceremony for 184 members of Multirole Engineer Unit 963 who completed their mission in Lebanon in January. During his speech, he said the blue helmets are recognised for their contribution worldwide.
“According to information listed by the United Nations’ official website, at the end of 2018, we were ranked 24th out of 123 countries, 10th out of 24 countries in Asia and 3rd out of 10 Asean countries to have contributed the most the most number of soldiers to UN Peacekeeping Missions,” Gen Banh said.
He added that Cambodia signed initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse, while conducting UN peacekeeping operations, during a UN General Assembly session last year.
Gen Banh said that in the past 13 years, Cambodian personnel have accomplished international tasks such as assisting troop development, law enforcement, demining efforts and infrastructure repair.
He added that blue helmets have also helped create fortifications, maintain security checkpoints and provide logistical support.
“This is one of the great potentials of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces’ migration into the UN’s multi-national system,” he said. “This is the result of great efforts made by the Defence Ministry.”
“We are proud to have the opportunity to have our troops participate in UN peacekeeping missions, knowing that we were once a country that received help from peacekeepers,” Gen Banh added. “I would like to congratulate our Cambodian blue helmet forces for their successes and accomplishments in international missions, for global peace and humanitarianism.”
General Sem Sovanny, director-general of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces, yesterday said that female peacekeepers played a major role in the many accomplishments.
Gen Sovanny said that as of last month, Cambodia deployed hundreds of female soldiers to conflicted areas around the world.
“Cambodia deployed 5,969 personnel, 290 of whom were women, to 10 missions in eight countries in Africa and the Middle East,” he said.
UN Resident Coordinator Pauline Tamesis yesterday said UN peacekeeping missions aim to save lives, advance peace, rebuild communities and provide security in troubled areas around the world.
“I wish to take this opportunity to salute the 184 peacekeepers from Multirole Engineer Unit 963 for your bravery, dedication and contribution,” Ms Tamesis said. “On behalf of the United Nations system, I thank you for the mission you have undertaken.”
She noted that Cambodian women were among peacekeeping personnel that returned last month and that they represent a shift towards gender equality in RCAF.
“Military service requires courage from all, but special courage is demonstrated by these women who have worked hard to break gender barriers and pursue careers in a male-dominated field,” Ms Tamesis said.