To mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in May earlier this year, UNA-UK launched its 'Thank a Peacekeeper' campaign. This initiative, new to the UK, called on UNA-UK's members and supporters to sign an open letter of appreciation to UN peacekeepers, past and present, and gave them the opportunity to pass on their own personalised messages of support.
210 people signed the letter, including 60 personalised messages. We are delighted with this response, which we believe is indicative of the broader support within the UK public for the valuable work of the UN’s ‘blue helmets', often conducted in the most difficult of circumstances.
One of those who responded was Dame Margaret Anstee, former Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to Angola, and head of the UN's peacekeeping mission there. Dame Margaret said:
UNA-UK has sent a copy of the letter and the personalised messages to Mr Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, for his department to transmit to currently serving personnel. The messages have also been sent to the UN Veterans Association UK, a group of former British and Irish military personnel who have served as UN peacekeepers.
Earlier this year, UNA-UK also convened a roundtable with the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office to identify current peacekeeping challenges, and supported the annual commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers in the UK, jointly organised by UNA Westminster branch and the Royal United Services Institute.