ADDIS ABABA – Some 643 Ethiopian Peacekeepers receive United Nations Medals for their contribution in reducing conflict in South Sudan, the UN mission said on Wednesday.
The UNMISS said at least 86 women are among the 643 peacekeepers honoured with the prestigious United Nations Medal for their service and sacrifice during their deployment.
The Medal also recognizes the peacekeepers’ outstanding contribution in building community trust and confidence, among others.
“I have left my two young sons at home and have been serving as a Blue Helmet with UNMISS for almost two years,” says Major Getabeh Woldegyogise, a peacekeeper from Ethiopia who is deployed to conflict-ridden Jonglei in South Sudan.
Prior to becoming a UN peacekeeper, Major Woldegyogise has served in different military units as part of his country’s army for 20 years.
In his current role, he often spends days and nights in remote areas trying to overcome near-impassable road conditions to reach villages where local communities need protection or humanitarian aid.
Major Woldegyogise, along with 642 of his brave colleagues, including 86 women, received the prestigious UN medal honouring their service in an event attended by senior UNMISS officials and state dignitaries on Tuesday.
For Major Woldegyogise, it was a day to remember.
“The conditions we serve in as peacekeepers are harsh; we are often in the forefront of armed hostilities, but we try and fulfil our mandate to protect civilians with happiness,” says the Major.
“This UN medal acknowledges the hardships we go through but, more significantly, it is a reminder that peace and security always necessitate sacrifice,” he states poignantly.
Since their initial deployment to UNMISS, Ethiopian peacekeepers have contributed immeasurably to the mission’s mandate by reducing intercommunal conflict.
They are now playing critical role in preventing revenge attacks due to cattle rustling; building community trust and confidence; and ensuring speedy delivery of humanitarian assistance to people who need it the most.
“It hasn’t been an easy deployment for all of you in Jonglei and the Greater Pibor Administrative Area—the terrain is tough, weather conditions arduous and it is a hotspot for conflict, all of which has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Main Ullah Chowdhury, Deputy Force Commander of UNMISS.
“However, for the past 18 months you have been the lynchpin for the mission to achieve its mandated tasks here,” the Commander said while commending awardees at the medal ceremony.
As geographical neighbours with longstanding cordial relations, Ethiopia has also been at the forefront of the ongoing political engagement by international and regional stakeholders for a sustainable peace across South Sudan.
Featured Image: 86 women were among the 643 peacekeepers recently honoured with the prestigious United Nations Medal for their service and sacrifice in conflict-ridden Jonglei, South Sudan. [Photo by Mach Samuel/UNMISS]