By PRO IUNVA
Thirty five years ago, on 29 Sep 1988, the Norwegian Nobel Committee decided that the 1988 Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded to the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces. The Nobel Committee announced “The peacekeeping forces of the United Nations have, under extremely difficult conditions, contributed to reducing tensions where an armistice has been negotiated but a peace treaty has yet to be established. It is the considered opinion of the Committee that the Peacekeeping Forces through their efforts have made important contributions towards the realization of one of the fundamental tenets of the United Nations. Thus, the world organization has come to play a more central part in world affairs and has been invested with increasing trust.”
During the Award Ceremony Speech, the Committee requested those gathered to join in honouring the memory of 733 people, who sacrificed their lives while working for the Peacekeeping Forces. “They volunteered to the service, knowing that it could involve risk. It became their lot to pay the highest price a human being can pay.”
The UN Secretary General, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar said “The essence of peacekeeping is the use of soldiers as a catalyst for peace rather than as the instruments of war. It is in fact the exact opposite of the military action against aggression foreseen in Chapter VII of the charter. The technique of peacekeeping, which has already proved itself in fifteen operations all over the world, can help us to cross the line from a world of international conflict and violence to a world in which respect for international law and authority overcomes belligerence and ensures justice. Peacekeeping operations symbolise the world community’s will to peace and represent the impartial, practical expression of that will. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to these operations illuminates the hope and strengthens the promise of this extraordinary concept.”
The United Nations Peacekeepers Medal was introduced in 1989 and serving or former members of the PDF or the Chaplaincy Service who qualifies or has qualified for the award of a medal in respect of service with a United Nations mission or a United Nations mandated mission and who is otherwise eligible for the award of the UN Peacekeepers Medal.