UN peacekeeping: Service and sacrifice

Peacekeepers serving under the UN flag work in difficult and dangerous environments, risking their lives to protect some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Since 1948, more than a million women and men have served as UN peacekeepers. Every day, they make a tangible difference in the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, and every day they save lives. In places like the Central African Republic and South Sudan, our peacekeepers protect civilians against violent attacks and support the delivery of crucial humanitarian assistance.

Secretary-General | 16 January 2018 
I thank our troop- and police-contributing countries for their generosity, and pay tribute to all personnel who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Peacekeeping is a unique force for good, with military and police personnel from over 120 countries serving together, alongside civilian colleagues. Our peacekeepers come from diverse cultures and speak different languages, but share a common purpose: the protection of vulnerable communities and the provision of support to countries struggling to move from conflict to peace. We ask peacekeepers and their families to make great sacrifices. They serve at great personal risk and in harsh conditions. Tragically some make the ultimate sacrifice – over 3,500 peacekeepers have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

  • Peacekeepers make great sacrifices. They serve at great personal risk and under harsh conditions. Many have paid with their lives. The families of peacekeepers share that sacrifice.
    • Peacekeepers perform acts of courage and compassion every day. They are the best chance for peace and decency – the very goals of the Sustainable Development Goals — for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
    • It is the commitment of troop contributing countries that allows peacekeeping to happen.
    • Peacekeeping is a partnership that depends on its partners for the success of this shared endeavour.

Gladys Ngwepekeum Nkeh is a United Nations police officer from Cameroon, one of some 12,870 uniformed personnel working with the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. Earlier this year, the officer and her team went to a school – Ecole des 136 villas – in Bangui looking for a young girl who she found out from community leaders had been raped and became pregnant.