Wednesday, May 4, 2016

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Sri Lanka's Participation in the United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations

Sri Lankan Peace-keepers in action in Haiti

The first involvement of Sri Lanka in a UN Peace-Keeping Operation was in 1960, where a group of six service personnel from Sri Lanka Army led by Brigadier C T Caldera, were deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).

 This first group was replaced in 1961, by a contingent led by Brigadier J G Balthazar. Thereafter, for about four decades, there had not been any involvement in peace-keeping missions by our troops, until the Government of Sri Lanka deployed 2 military observers in Congo, in 2002.

Since then, as a Force Contributing Country, Sri Lanka has provided the services of military and police personnel for UN Peace-Keeping Operations in different conflict zones around the world namely, The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), UN Peace-Keeping Mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB), UN Mission in Cote d'lvoire (MINUCI), UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).

 According to the records of Sri Lanka Army, about 1602 personnel had already completed their tour of duty with UN Peace-Keeping Missions. They have served in different capacities which include military observers and staff officers. Currently there are 1013 Sri Lankan service personnel attached to UN Peace-Keeping Missions. Sri Lanka ranks in the 15th place in terms of the contribution of military and police personnel to UN Peace-Keeping Missions.

The individuals who have served in UN Missions have gained valuable experience in peace support operations. Other than participating at peacekeeping missions, Sri Lankan Security forces and police personnel have actively participated and benefited from various training programmes conducted by the UN to enhance the skills and capacities of personnel involved in peace-keeping and related activities. The Multi Platoon Training Exercises (MPE), conducted prior to deployments is one such important activity. The third such MPE was held at the Institute of Peace Support Operations Training (IPSOTSL) at Kukule Ganga, Sri Lanka. This institute was established in 2004 with the main objective of conducting pre/post deployment training of UN peace-keepers.

L/Cpl Jayasinghe JBAJ


Dag Hamersh”ld Medal


L/Cpl Wijesinghe HM


Two Sri Lankans, Lance Corporal Jayasinghe Jasin Bastiyan Arachchige Jayalath Jayasinghe and Lance Corporal Herath Mudiyanselage Wijesinghe of Sri Lanka Army were killed in 2005 while serving in Haiti. These two Sri Lankan servicemen were awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medal on 26th May 2006, when the UN marked the International Day of UN Peace-Keepers. Dag Hammershjold Medal is awarded posthumously to members of peace-keeping operations who lost their lives while serving under UN peace-keeping operations.

Source: Sri Lanka and the United Nation, 50 Years of Partnership - Ministry of Foreign Affairs - 2006

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