UNIC Nairobi, in collaboration with the Kenya Defence Forces, National Police and Correction Services, Soldiers of Peace International Association and the Global Peace Foundation, organized the commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on 29 May at the United Nations Headquarter Complex in Gigiri.
The chief guest was the Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Ambassador Rachael Omamo who was joined by other guests including the Kenya Permanent Representative to the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON), Ambassador Martin Kimani, Chiefs from different Units of the security forces and organizations.
The ceremony commenced with a procession and a march past by former UN Peacekeepers, led by the military band.
In her speech, the Cabinet Secretary for Defence, Ambassador Rachael Omamo, reiterated Kenya Government’s commitment to continue participating in UN peacekeeping operations. “I wish to assure you that the defence forces shall continue to support the international community as and when called upon under the overall superintendence of the Commander-in-Chief, President Uhuru Kenyatta.”
The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Amina Mohammed represented by Ambassador Martin Kimani emphasized “multilateral engagement for Kenya, particularly with the United Nations is a key pillar of our foreign policy and as such, we identify closely with the UN’s peacekeeping efforts and operations, which play a critical role in the maintenance of peace and stability around the globe.”
The Director General of the UN Office at Nairobi, Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, welcomed the guests and presented the Secretary-General’s speech where he noted how the UN is adapting to new challenges. “United Nations peacekeeping is increasingly called on to deploy multi-dimensional operations to help countries transition from conflict to peace, with a significant focus on protecting civilians, including the most vulnerable among them: women and children” .
The Guests observed a minute of silence in honor of the departed peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of duty, followed by a wreath laying ceremony.
As part of the activities for the day, a successful blood donation exercise was carried out where UN staff members and invited guests donated blood.
The programme concluded with an interactive session with in-and out-of-school youths focussing on the role of young people in maintaining peace. The youth had an opportunity to go through an exhibition on peace and security issues.