Remembering our nation’s peacekeepers

Sunday, September 13 2020

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

TOMORROW, on National Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Day, we thank those Australians who have served on international peacekeeping operations to help countries in need. 

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said more than 65,000 Australians — Australian Defence Force personnel, members of the police forces and civilians — had served on more than 50 peacekeeping missions since 1947.

“Our nation’s first peacekeeping mission was as part of a United Nations (UN) operation in the Dutch East Indies (present day Indonesia) between 1947 and 1951, and this proud peacekeeping tradition has continued to the present day with Australian peacekeepers currently supporting various operations around the world,” Mr Chester said.

“The role of peacekeepers can be broad, and the deployments can be for weeks, months or years with some UN operations spanning decades.

“Peacekeepers usually serve in countries afflicted by war and are therefore often confronted with horrific scenes with civilians in desperate need of aid. At other times, they can be deployed to help maintain peace during an election or to assist with humanitarian aid projects.”

Australia’s police services form a crucial part of the nation’s peacekeeping efforts. Australia has been an important contributor to joint international peacekeeping efforts around the world including leading peacekeeping operations in our region.

“Closer to home, Australia has led or taken a leading role in the multinational Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville (1998 to 2003), INTERFET in East Timor (1999 to 2000), and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (2003 to 2017),” Mr Chester said.

“Restoring and maintaining peace and helping countries in need is a task that Australia’s peacekeepers have never backed away from and undertake with great pride.

“On a day dedicated to our peacekeepers, we honour the lives of the 16 Australians who have tragically died, and to all our peacekeepers say a simple thank you for your service.”

A memorial to Australian Peacekeepers is on Anzac Parade in Canberra. This memorial was inaugurated in 2017 and commemorates the service and sacrifice of all Australians who have served on peacekeeping or peacemaking missions around the world.


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