Statement by Hon’ble Mr. Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs at the Program of International Day of Peace and unveiling of the Nepali UN Peacekeepers’ Memorial Plaque in the UN House on 20th September 2017 at the UN House, Lalitpur
United Nations Resident Coordinator Madam Valerie Julliand,
Distinguished representatives and Officials of the UN System and international organizations,
Chiefs of Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Nepal Armed Police Force,
Family members of Nepali UN peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty for world peace
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I feel honored and privileged to be amongst you at this august gathering organized this morning on the occasion of the International Day of Peace that is celebrated worldwide on 21st September every year. Tomorrow is our national holiday on the occasion of the first day (Ghatasthapana) of great Festival Vijaya Dashami. I also take this opportunity, on the occasion of Vijaya Dashami of B.S. 2074, to extend my sincere greetings for good health, happiness, peace and prosperity to you all in the days to come.
At the outset, I would like, on behalf of the Government of Nepal, to express sincere thanks to the United Nations for organizing this program at which we just jointly unveiled a Memorial Plaque in memory of Nepali UN Peacekeepers. It is a fitting occasion to pay homage to Nepali UN Peacekeepers who have made their supreme sacrifice of their lives in the line of their duty in different times.
This year’s global theme of the International Day of Peace for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The theme is timely and most appropriate for all members of the United Nations. Nepal has always underlined the need for unity and concerted efforts of all UN members towards achieving the goals of international peace and security, sustainable development and respect for human rights of all people around the world based on the cardinal principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
I would like to reiterate, on behalf of the Government of Nepal, its unflinching faith and commitment to the United Nations Charter. Nepal, a peace-loving member of the UN, has taken on the Organization as an international instrument of collective security for world’s peace and stability. Since becoming its member on 14 December 1955, Nepal has consistently participated in the activities of the United Nations and strived for making the Organization more effective in its vision and mission in a global partnership for peace and solidarity.
You may already know that leading a Nepali delegation the Right Honorable Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has left Kathmandu just yesterday evening for New York to participate in the ongoing 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Our regular participation in the General Assembly and other organs of the United Nations attests our commitment and resolution towards the Organization.
Furthermore, Nepal’s contributions to the maintenance of international peace, security and stability through the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions since 1958 have been well recognized and received by the international community. Nepal takes pride in her consistent contributions to the noble endeavor for collective security and world peace over six decades. We consider that the spirit of together under the umbrella of the United Nations is well served since UN peacekeeping efforts represent the most significant and successful achievement of the Organization for sustainable peace and prosperity for all.
We have noticed that UN peacekeeping missions have constantly been evolved during the past seven decades in terms of their mandates and effectiveness in the changed contexts of a multi-polar world. The numbers of UN peacekeepers and troop contributing countries and UN Missions have substantively increased. Since the Brahimi Report of 2001, the nature of deployment of troops has also been redefined with a view to creating lasting peace and stability, and preventing and managing conflicts around the world.
It is both an opportunity and challenge for Nepali UN Peacekeepers to perform their duty with Blue Helmets. The Government of Nepal would like to express its sincere appreciation to the United Nations for providing opportunities to the Nepal Army, Nepal police and Nepal Armed Police Force as uniformed or civilian personnel to serve various United Nations peacekeeping, peace-building and peacemaking missions around the world. Nepali UN peacekeepers have demonstrated their selfless dedication and commitment with high professionalism as required by the mandates of their respective missions as many as 42 out of 71 UN Peacekeeping Operations during the past six decades. So far, Nepal has contributed over 126, 000 peacekeepers and is currently the sixth largest troops contributing country. Even at present, 5200 plus Nepali UN peacekeepers are on duty in 15 out 16 UN peacekeeping missions from Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti all corners of the world.
While we commend all Nepali UN peacekeepers, 76 of them have lost their lives in the line of duty in about 20 missions during the six decades. It is therefore a pious occasion to pay homage to them and give applause to their family members who have lost their dear ones. Nepal along with 193 UN members would remember them as brave Nepali Blue Helmets in memory of their service for common humanity.
The Government of Nepal has laid emphasis on impartiality, dedication and professional excellence of Nepali peacekeepers that is the hallmark of Nepal’s participation. Efforts are made for inclusive participation of female peacekeepers in different missions to improve gender parity in the peacekeeping missions.
With a view to making peacekeeping effective, responsible and accountable, Nepal considers that the core principles of the UN peacekeeping, such as consent of the parties, impartiality and the non-use of force except in self-defense and defense of the mandate should form the fundamental basis for the legitimate role of the UN peacekeeping operations.
We have internalized and integrated into policy relevant norms and standards on peacekeeping, including the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians. Nepal believes that host government should ensure safety and security of the lives and dignity of the peacekeepers and civilian population. Therefore, we feel that collective and shared interest of better peacekeeping requires the close support and coordination of all stakeholders. The United Nations must support troops contributing countries for strengthening professionalism and capability of peacekeepers and senior leadership.
Nepal has always responded positively and promptly to the call of the United Nations and sent troops and civilian personnel at the shortest of calls, also in relatively difficult missions, which is a testimony to our commitment to world peace. The Nepal Army, Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force have all integrated the UN policies regarding protection of civilians, sexual exploitation or abuse, and protection of human rights into the pre-deployment training of peacekeepers. The Nepali peacekeepers and officials receive pre-deployment trainings with focus on challenges associated with the protection of civilians. In light with these commitments to the highest standards of peacekeeping, it is imperative that troops contributing countries should also have an enhanced sense of ownership in the whole process of peacekeeping.
It is our firm belief that balanced, fair and equitable opportunities for recruitment in senior positions from the Troops and Police Contributing Countries will enhance the inclusive character of the Secretariat and field missions and further enhances their effectiveness.
You may be aware that just yesterday we celebrated the third anniversary of the proclamation of the new Constitution. The cycle of local level elections has completed just two days ago. The Federal Parliament and Provincial elections have already been scheduled in November and December this year. After all these elections governance at all levels will be entirely in the hands of elected representatives that will enhance acceptability and implementation of the Constitution by all Nepali people.
Last but not the least, the Government of Nepal attaches high importance to partnership with the United Nations in the attainment of its goal of international peace, security and sustainable development around the world. As in the past, Nepal will continue to make its utmost efforts to respond to the call of the United Nations to make a safe and better world.
Thank you all for your kind attention.