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Expressing thanks to Canadian Peacekeepers on National Peacekeepers’ Day

Above image: Left to right, Members of Task Force-Mali conduct patrols of Camp Castor during Operation PRESENCE-Mali. Photo by Corporal François Charest, 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. Right, UN Peacekeeping badge and Canadian flag, Operation PRESENCE-Mali on October 15, 2018. Photo by Corporal Ken Beliwicz. Photos courtesy of Combat Camera.

On August 9, 1974, nine Canadian peacekeepers on a United Nations-marked Canadian transport aircraft were killed when their plane was shot down by Syrian missiles during a regular resupply mission in the Middle East.

To recognize the greatest single loss of Canadian lives on a peacekeeping mission, and honour those who currently serve, previously served and sacrificed during peacekeeping operations, August 9 is marked National Peacekeepers’ day.

Canadian and Senegalese MINUSMA members deploy on an emergency resupply with vehicle parts from Camp Castor in Gao, Mali during Operation PRESENCE-Mali on October 19, 2018. Photo: Corporal Ken Beliwicz. Photo courtesy of Combat Camera.

Established in 2008, National Peacekeepers’ Day is a day, Canadians can express the gratitude they have toward personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and provincial and municipal police forces, as well as Canadian diplomats and civilians who have worked in support of international peace and security operations.

“Today, we also pause to honour the memory of the approximately 130 Canadian peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace. Their bravery continues to be reflected in the selfless work of peacekeepers around the world. Statement from Ministers

Since 1948, when the United Nations dispatched peacekeepers for the first time, more than 125,000 Canadian peacekeepers have participated in a number of international efforts over the past six decades in countries all over the world, and close to 130 have lost their lives.

Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights, United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission area. November 04, 2002. Canadian peacekeeper Cpl Charlsey Jacob, a reservist from 23 Service Battalion in Hamilton, unwraps an auto atropine injector, during chemical defence refresher training at Camp Ziouani, Golan Heights. The atropine injector is used to counter the effects of chemical agents should troops be exposed to them. The mission of the Canadian Contingent of UNDOF, also known as OP DANACA, is to monitor and supervise the disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria. The Canadian Contingent provides most of the troops for the UNDOF Logistic Battalion, as well as a number of communications and headquarters personnel. Canadian peacekeepers have been serving with UNDOF since its inception, and will mark 29 years in the mission during April 2003. Photo: MCpl Frank Hudec, courtesy of Canadian Forces Combat Camera.

Canada has helped provide instrumental support to restore peace and security in areas devastated by conflict. Peacekeepers play a vital and significant role in achieving these objectives. They protect civilians, actively prevent conflict, reduce violence, strengthen security, and empower national authorities to assume these responsibilities.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan stated, “This National Peacekeepers’ Day, the Defence Team, as well as all Canadians express their deepest gratitude to our peacekeepers. For 70 years, Canadians have contributed more than 125,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, over 4,000 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police officers, as well as thousands of Canadian diplomats and civilians to peacekeeping efforts. Of those brave people, we honour the 130 who lost their lives while fighting for equality and peace.”

GONAIVES, HAITI 27 July 2004: As Hotel Company of the Second Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment prepares to leave Camp Moncton, their camp in Gonaives, Haiti they must hand over control of their area of responsibility to the Argentinean Military. Commanding Officer of Operation HALO, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Davis (left) and the Officer Commanding Hotel Company, Major Russel King (center) meet with Argentinean Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Santiago Ferreyra (right) to discuss the hand over. Operation HALO is Canada’s contribution to the Mission des Nations unies pour la Stabilization en Haiti (United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti), or MINUSTAH. The Command is called Task Force Haiti. The Canadian Forces has deployed about 450 personnel and six CH-146 Griffon helicopters to Haiti. Their mission is to assist in providing a secure and stable environment in Haiti. Corporal Matthew McGregor, Formation Imaging Services HalifaxPhoto courtesy CAF.

He continued, “Today, we are contributing to peacekeeping through our Elsie Initiative, the Women Peace and Security Agenda, the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, and through the various operations in South Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, the Middle East and Mali. We want to recognize the work of those who are currently taking part in and assisting peacekeeping missions around the world.”

STATEMENT FROM MINISTERS

To mark the occasion Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne, and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair issued the following statement today to recognize National Peacekeepers’ Day, “Today on National Peacekeepers’ Day, we join Canadians in expressing our deepest gratitude to Canadian peacekeepers, past and present, for their service and commitment toward building a safer world. We recognize those who have upheld our country’s proud history throughout the years by bringing peace and security to vulnerable communities in some of the world’s most volatile regions.

Charlie Company serving on a United Nations Mission in Medak Pocket in Croatia.

“Our peacekeepers represent Canada with their professionalism, compassion, and operational excellence. We are proud to have had more than 125,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, over 4,000 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police officers, as well as thousands of Canadian diplomats and civilians who have supported peace and security operations around the world. Their meaningful contributions have a direct and positive impact on the lives of people affected by conflict, and we owe them and their families our unwavering support.

“Today, we also pause to honour the memory of the approximately 130 Canadian peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace. Their bravery continues to be reflected in the selfless work of peacekeepers around the world.

January 03, 2001 Eritrea, Africa Cpl Gaetan Roy with Recconaissance (Recce) Platoon, the Second Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, based out of Camp Gagetown, meets a young resident of Dek’emhare during a familiarization patrol in the Eritrean town January 3, 2001. Recce Platoon’s mission is to provide a security screen on the Eritrean side, north of the Temporary Security Zone, through frequent patroling and the conduct of surveillance operations. They are deployed for six months on Operation Eclipse, Canada’s contribution to United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Photo by: MCpl Danielle Bernier, J5PA. Courtesy of Combat Camera.

“We remain steadfast in our pledge to advance and support global peace and security in the face of evolving challenges. This is why the Government of Canada continues to take real, tangible steps to reform and modernize peace operations.

“It has been 20 years since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 that established the Women, Peace and Security Agenda, recognizing that integrating gender perspectives and empowering women is key to creating sustainable peace. It also calls for increasing the number of women in peace operations to help missions better reflect the populations they serve and improve their effectiveness. For these reasons, we are striving to increase the meaningful participation of women in UN peacekeeping through the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations and in collaboration with our UN partners.

Troops from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment in Kuwait, after the Gulf War. (1991)

“Through the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers, now adopted by 96 countries, we are also working to protect children affected by conflicts around the globe. Canada led the development of Implementation Guidance for the Vancouver Principles, which provides practical advice on how to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

“To conclude, we want to thank and recognize the work of current members, police officers and civilians who are at the moment taking part in and assisting peacekeeping missions around the world, in South Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, the Middle East, Mali and more countries. Thank you for all that you do to help bring peace in countries where civilians are suffering because of conflict.”

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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