Today the United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK) held its 10th annual peacekeeping conference. Jointly organised by UNA-UK, the Royal United Services Institute and UNA Westminster, the conference is held every year to mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (29 May).
The theme of this year's conference was 'After the soldiers leave', and began with a session titled 'Helping states chart their own return to stability'. This session was chaired by Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC with speakers including Freddie Carver, Security and Justice Team, Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Douglas Brand OBE, Chief Police Advisor to the Ministry of the Interior Iraq.
The Folke Bernadotte Memorial Lecture - held in memory of the UN's first mediator who was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 - was given by Ann-Marie Orler, former Police Adviser, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Ms Orler spoke about the need for more women police officers in operations, and referred to UNA-UK's 'safer world'. She said that the "promotion of women in police peacekeeping is critical to making a safer world possible for all those affected by conflict".
Finally, the conference concluded with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Women of World War II memorial on Whitehall, in memory of those peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Natalie Samarasinghe, Acting Executive Director, laid a wreath on behalf of the Association.
Photos from the day will be uploaded to this page when available.
International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers - 29 May
To coincide with the conference and the upcoming International Day of UN Peacekeepers, UNA-UK is calling on its members and supporters to take part in its monthly action and 'thank a UN peacekeeper'.
Each year on 29 May, we salute the ‘Blue Helmets’, as peacekeepers are known, over 110,000 of whom are currently serving in 16 missions worldwide. We also commemorate those peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the line of duty – over 3,100 to date.
For Peacekeepers Day 2013, UNA-UK is asking its members and supporters to sign our letter and ‘thank a UN peacekeeper’ for all they do to secure a more peaceful world for us all. Responses will be collated and forwarded to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.