ALP Proposes National Memorial for Peacekeepers
- Tuesday 2 September 2003
Simon Crean today commented that
the Peacekeepers of Australia should have a memorial.
The Australian Peacekeepers & Peacemakers Association (APPA), supports Mr Crean's view and welcomes the proposal.
Since early 2001, the APPA has been trying to lobby for such a memorial. The RSL National President Major General Peter Phillips announced on 5 March 2001 that the RSL would consider such a memorial, and put the proposal to State branches for comment and approval. The problem that the National RSL had with the proposed project at the time was the expense of $2 mil to finance the project.
In April 2001, the Chief of Defence Force, Admiral Chris Barrie was briefed of the concept.
The APPA has actively sought to have the deeds of Peacekeepers & Peacemakers recognised. On ABC Melbourne Radio 3LO, Mr Paul Copeland, National President of the APPA, stated "there has been a reluctant acceptance, nationally, of peacekeepers to be a part of the veteran community."
Mr Copeland added that the General public and the Veteran Community are very unaware of the circumstances and risks that peacekeepers have placed themselves in whilst serving on various operations since 1947. "What we don't want to see is another era of Vietnam when they were ignored by the community and veterans alike" Mr Copeland said.
Australian Peacekeepers were the first ever peacekeepers in the world to deploy, on 9 September 1947. This day has been recognised by the APPA as "Peacekeeper's Day", as opposed to United Nations Day. Mr Copeland stated "UN Day only commemorates the UN organisation as a whole. It does not commemorate the efforts, sacrifices and deeds of individual Peacekeepers". The APPA has asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs to recognise the 9th of September as Peacekeepers Day for Australian Peacekeepers in the past, however there appears to be a reluctance to have this pro-actively and nationally commemorated.
Under UN Security Resolution 56/225 B dated 29 May 2002, the UN has called on member nations to commemorate the day as International Peacekeeping Day.
The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has been advised of these commemorative days by the APPA, however it appears that there has been no positive outcome from the APPA proposals. "Other issues of recognition for Younger Veterans by the Australian Government are currently outstanding issues that require resolution. A National Peacekeeper's Memorial would be a good start." Mr Copeland stated.
The APPA welcomes the ALP initiative and hopes that the APPA will be involved in a Consultative role when the project is instigated.