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UN peacekeeping chief honors fallen peacekeepers

(Xinhua)

08:27, May 30, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, May 29 (Xinhua) -- UN Under-Secretary-Ggeneral for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous on Tuesday honored the 112 peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2011.

"It is a day of remembrance, a day of fidelity to the memory of those brave colleagues of ours who died," Ladsous said at a press conference here on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is a day to remember those who served in United Nations peacekeeping operations. They also honor the memory of people who died in the name of peace.

On Dec. 11, 2002, the UN General assembly designated May 29 as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The day was first observed on May 29, 2003.

Ladsous noted that since the creation of the UN peacekeeping operations in 1948, thousands of volunteers have died. During 2011 an estimated 112 blue helmets died in various circumstances, while 31 others have been reported to have lost their lives since January of this year.

Ladsous also called the recent surge of violence in Syria an " absolutely appalling tragedy," saying that "this calls for an absolute need to bring an end to violence, and that the parties -- that is the government and the opposition forces in Syria, stop these senseless killings."

Earlier on Tuesday, the United Nations saluted the military, police and civilian personnel who serve in some of the world's most dangerous places, and paid tribute to the memory of those colleagues who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving as UN peacekeepers.

"Today we honor the 112 fallen heroes who died while serving under the United Nations flag in 2011," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a wreath-laying ceremony at the UN Headquarters in New York.

"They may be soldiers, police or national staff. But there are no differences among them in terms of the risks they faced, the contributions they made, and the pride they took in their service to the United Nations," he stated. "The difference between an ordinary person and a hero is that the hero voluntarily braves danger to save others."

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