From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Subscription List
Sent: Tue 29/05/2012 12:07 PM

A DAY FOR OUR PEACEKEEPERS

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today paid tribute to the crucial role peacekeepers play in restoring peace to countries torn by conflict and the many Australian servicemen and women who have been a part of these peacekeeping efforts.

Mr Snowdon said International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers, 29 May, was established by the UN General Assembly in 2002.

“Peacekeepers Day acknowledges the high level of professionalism, dedication and courage shown by those who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations,” he said.

Australia’s peacekeeping and peacemaking involvement under the UN began 65 years ago on 14 September 1947, when the first four peacekeepers entered the then volatile environment of the Netherlands East Indies (currently Indonesia) to begin work as military observers.

“Since 1947, more than 30,000 Australian’s have served in some 50 multinational peacekeeping operations, an achievement that Australia is very proud of,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Men and women of the ADF have offered support in countries throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe, and in recent times Australians have been stationed closer to home in the Solomon Islands and on Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.”

Mr Snowdon said that peacekeepers readily undertake the very challenging role of restoring peace to possibly dangerous and unstable environments, in unfamiliar territory.

“Despite the difficult circumstances that our peacekeepers work under, they have completed many successful missions to restore peace and harmony to communities across the world.”

“Peacekeepers are trusted with an unique responsibility and it is important that on 29 May each year we acknowledge their important contribution to world peace,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides peacekeepers, and their families, with counselling and other support services through the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service.

For more information on International UN Peacekeepers Day visit www.un.org/en. More information about VVCS is available at www.dva.gov.au/vvcs.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 0407 108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203