24th September, 2018
Date: Fri 14/09/2018 4:19 AM
HONOURING THE CONTRIBUTION OF AUSTRALIA’S PEACEKEEPERS
THE vital role of Australians in United Nations (UN) peace operations and their more than 70 years of dedicated service to the international community is remembered today, National Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Day.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said peacekeepers and peacemakers have played, and continue to play, an important role in providing support and assistance to victims of conflict, often in unstable and dangerous locations.
“In September 1947, the first Australian peacekeepers arrived in the Netherlands East Indies—modern day Indonesia—to begin work as unarmed military observers and to observe the movements of both sides to ensure any violations were brought to the attention of the international community,” Mr Chester said.
“Over time the nature of peacekeeping evolved, requiring management of more complex and multi-dimensional issues, ranging from operations as military observers, providing logistical support, and monitoring ceasefires to landmine clearance operations, supporting democratic elections, providing policing support functions, and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid.”
Since 1947, Australians have served in more than 50 multi-national peacekeeping operations. Australian state and federal police forces have also had a long involvement in peacekeeping operations, beginning in 1964 with the first deployment to Cyprus and ending 53 years later in 2017.
“Today, I encourage people across the nation to respect and honour the service of the 16 Australians who have died on peacekeeping operations,” Mr Chester said.
“Australians should also reflect on those who have served in all peacekeeping missions, and those who are currently serving in the Middle East UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), and the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).”