“UN peacekeeping operations are now increasingly complex and multi-dimensional, going beyond monitoring a ceasefire to actually bringing failed States back to life, often after decades of conflict” – Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations
Kofi Annan’s quote encapsulates the healing, unifying spirit of the UN peacekeeping project, which celebrated its 70th anniversary this year.
A dynamic force for global good, today the UN peacekeeping force brings 120 nations and over 100,000 military, police and civilian personnel together in support of conflict resolution and lasting peace.
This figure includes the nearly 700 British troops currently wearing the peacekeepers’ blue beret in South Sudan, Cyprus, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Libya.
Here we take a closer look at how UK serving personnel are collaborating with forces in Somalia and South Sudan to protect communities from violence, warfare and terror.
UNSOM – Somalia
In Somalia the British Army are deployed on Operation TANGHAM, helping to coordinate mentoring and advisory programmes in Mogadishu, as well as directly training the Somali National Army in Baidoa.
For the Somalia Army this mission represents a vital step on the road to re-establishing itself as a professional military.
As such, the British approach here differs from other training missions around the world.
Not only are serving personnel transferring their skills, they are also helping to establish infrastructure and providing small stipends. This wider, more encompassing level of support has been designed to help keep the Somali army functioning as it tries to rebuild.
As larger numbers of troops are trained here it’s expected that more British soldiers will be deployed to Baidoa.
UNMISS – South Sudan
This month also marks the UK’s first anniversary of the deployment of engineers and medics to the UN Mission in South Sudan.
This is Britain’s largest contribution to UN peacekeeping and one of its largest operational deployments across the world, with 361 troops currently based there.
Primarily split between the regions of Malakal and Bentiu, the Royal Engineers are undertaking specialist projects such as the construction of a jetty on the River Nile, helicopter landing sites and other infrastructure improvements.
The Royal Engineers have already supported on the construction of a temporary field hospital in Bentiu. Inaugurated last year, the permanent hospital facility is supporting over 1,800 UN peacekeepers and staff, and is operated by medical personnel drawn from all three services.
Thank you for your service
The Armed Forces Muslim Association are incredibly proud of the work being carried out by British troops in the name of UN peacekeeping. Not only are they contributing to global stability, thereby keeping Britain safe and secure; they are a powerful force of hope and peace for some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
On this 70th Anniversary, we remember the sacrifice of the 3,700 personnel who have given their lives in service to UN peacekeeping, including over 100 British servicemen and women, and echo the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in honoring them:
“We pay tribute to those who work tirelessly to protect families threatened by war and we’re resolved to step up our efforts to prevent violence against women in places of conflict. We have played a leading role in this area but I am determined that we do more, by sharing crucial training and expertise to help those facing these terrible crimes.”