May 29 marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established on May 29, 1948, the UN has launched 71 peacekeeping operations across the globe. Approximately 125,000 UN peacekeepers serve in 16 active missions today.
As the UN Office of the Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and the Responsibility to Protect highlight in their newly updated Framework of Analysis, peacekeepers “are particularly exposed to the violence that accompanies periods of conflict due to the key role they play in the protection of human lives.” As such, the UN considers threats against peacekeepers as an important factor to consider when assessing the risk of atrocity crimes.
Since 1948, more than 3,350 military, police and civilian peacekeeping personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace and security. “AIPR pays tribute to the sacrifices of these women and men,” said Samantha Capicotto, AIPR’s Director of Policy and Planning, “and recognize the critical role they play in preventing mass atrocities and creating conditions for lasting peace.”