The Kingdom’s UN peacekeepers yesterday held a ceremony marking International United Nations Peacekeeper Day to honour those who lost their lives in pursuit of peace.
The ceremony was held at the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu province. Representatives of 19 countries and families of fallen UN Cambodian peacekeepers were present.
“We commemorate by honouring the souls of soldiers who lost their lives as United Nations peacekeepers,” said Major General Phal Samorn, deputy director-general of the centre.
He noted that in recent years, a number of blue helmet personnel have died while serving overseas.
Maj Gen Samorn highlighted peacekeepers who died due to malaria, and also peacekeepers who died during an attack by an insurgent group.
In May 2017, four Cambodian soldiers working with the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic were killed and another was injured in an attack by Christian insurgents in the southeastern part of the country.
In January, Luy Bunlong, a driver, died after contracting malaria in a hospital in the eastern Central African Republic city of Bria.
Maj Gen Samorn said Cambodia is proud to contribute to securing peace in some of the world’s deadliest conflict zones.
“Cambodian is proud, even though our forces lost their lives,” he said. “But, we will not hesitate when Prime Minister Hun Sen calls upon us to relentlessly continue our mission.”
Maj Gen Samorn said since 2006, Cambodia has sent 6,278 peacekeepers abroad, including 315 women.
The UN has ranked Cambodia 29th out of 122 troop-contributing countries, and second among Asean countries for the most female peacekeepers.
On Monday, the UN said on Facebook that it is proud to enlist Cambodian men and women into its peacekeeping ranks.
“They work in harsh conditions to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” the UN said. “We thank them for their service and sacrifices.”
Ny Taing In, brother of peacekeeper Ny Nol who died in Mali in 2014, yesterday said he appreciated the ceremony.
“I still remember my brother’s sacrifice for the nation, and I am proud of him,” Mr Taing said. “This commemoration is meaningful to the families of those who dared to live a dangerous life in order to help the world.”