2 fallen Nepali peacekeepers to be honoured with UN medal

KATHMANDU: The United Nations will posthumously honour two Nepali peacekeepers along with 126 others, who lost their lives during peacekeeping assignments last year, with the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal.

Two Nepalis, Private Bal Bahadur Nepali, who served in Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Police Head Constable Keher Singh Thapa, who was deployed under African Union Mission in Darfur, will be honoured with the medal amid a function at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Nepal is the sixth largest contributor of military and police personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions. As many as 5,298 personnel have been serving in 15 different peacekeeping operations currently.

According to a statement issued by the UN, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will lay a wreath to the fallen peacekeepers and award 128 military, police as well as civilians, who died during peacekeeping operations in 2015 with the Medal.

"On this Day, we honour our heroes – the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag with pride, distinction and courage since the first deployment in 1948," the UN chief said,  "And we pay our highest tribute to the more than 3,400 peacekeepers who have lost their lives while in service during that period."

According to the UN, 105,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop- and police-contributing countries are currently serving under the blue flag, along with 18,000 international and national civilian staff and UN Volunteers.

The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal was established by the Secretary-General in December 2000 to posthumously honour the members of peacekeeping operations who lost their lives during service with a peacekeeping operation under the operational control and authority of the United Nations.

According to the United Nations, as many as 3,400 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease since the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948 until April 2016.