UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations has honoured 117 military, police and civilian personnel from 43 countries, including five Pakistanis, who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2016.

A solemn ceremony marked the annual International Day of Peacekeepers on Monday, during which the Dag Hammarskjold Medal was awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who have given their lives for the cause of peace, during the preceding year.

“Every day, peacekeepers help bring peace and stability to war-torn societies around the world,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a large and distinguished gathering in remarks on the occasion.

The Acting Pakistan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Nabeel Munir, accepted the awards on behalf of the families of fallen peacekeepers.

The five Pakistanis peacekeepers are: Havildar Abdul Majeed Khan and Havildar Zishan Ahmed, who served with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO ): Lt-Colonel Muhammad Ashraf, who served with the United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOCI); Naik Qaiser Abbas, who was deployed with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); and Ms. Shabnam Khan who served in a civilian capacity with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Pakistan is one of the largest contributors of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping. It currently deploys more than 7,100 uniformed personnel to the UN peace operations in the Central African Republic, Ivoy Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Liberia, South Sudan, Sudan and the Western Sahara.