From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs subscription list
Sent: Fri 14/09/2012 8:41 AM

REFLECTING ON 65 YEARS OF AUSTRALIAN PEACEKEEPING

On Australian Peacekeepers Day, we pay our respects to the tens of thousands of Australian men and women who have played a crucial role in restoring peace and harmony, to countries torn apart by conflict.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said we commemorate our nation’s 65 year-long and proud history of peacekeeping and peacemaking, and all those who have worked to make the world a better place.

Laying a wreath at a ceremony held at the future site of the Australian Peacekeeping Memorial in Canberra, Mr Snowdon said Australia was among the first nations to become involved in United Nations peace operations.

“Since the first peacekeeping mission in 1947, more than 30,000 Australians have served in over 50 United Nations and multi-national operations.”

At present, the Australian Defence Force, Australian Federal Police personnel and Australian Government officials are deployed on operations across the globe, in locations including the Middle East, Timor-Leste, the Solomon Islands and Sudan.

“Peacekeepers are trusted with a unique responsibility and readily undertake the challenging role of restoring or maintaining peace, in often dangerous and unstable environments,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Australian peacekeeping duties have included military observation, logistics support, ceasefire monitoring, landmine clearance, supporting democratic elections, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid and assisting with the repatriation of refugees.

“Despite the difficult circumstances they often work under, our peacekeepers have contributed to successful missions in numerous countries.”

The Australian Government acknowledges the important contribution of peacekeepers and has funded a University of Melbourne study that investigates the long-term effects on mental health and quality of life of ex-serving Defence Force peacekeepers deployed from 1990 to 2002. The study, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will consider Australian involvement in places such as Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia, Namibia, Western Sahara and East Timor.

Media note: Images are available from the DVA Media Centre www.dva.gov.au/media.

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 02 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203