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UN peacekeepers honoured

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Cambodian peacekeepers march at a send-off ceremony earlier this month ahead of shipping out for South Sudan and Mali. Heng Chivoan

UN peacekeepers honoured

Cambodia will hold a commemoration ceremony today for United Nations (UN) peacekeepers who lost their lives in the line of service in foreign countries.

The event will take place at the Training Centre For Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kampong Speu province.

Phol Samorn, deputy director of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance, told The Post that the UN hosts the “International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers” every May 29 to honour those who lost their lives while serving abroad.

“Cambodia is hosting a ceremony for personnel who died on UN peacekeeping missions, and we invite embassies and UN representatives to attend,” Samorn said.

He said the first time Cambodia sent peacekeeping forces on a UN mission was on April 12, 2006. More than 5,000 Cambodian peacekeepers have been sent to countries in Africa. Samorn also said seven Cambodian peacekeepers have lost their lives.

Many others were injured during such missions, but they have all since recovered and their families provided with due compensation.

Last week, the UN issued a press release saying the international organisation’s secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, will visit Mali to commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

‘Very proud of him’

He will then preside over the ceremony to “posthumously present the Dag Hammarskjold Medal to 129 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives in peacekeeping operations in 2017”, the press release said.

Among them are five military personnel from Cambodia. They are Sergeant Bulong Luy, 2nd Lieutenant Eng Mao, Sergeant Tola Mom, 2nd Lieutenant Norin Seang and Sergeant Som Im.

They had served with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

The award ceremony for the Dag Hammarskjold Medal, which is given by the UN to military personnel, police, or civilians who lose their lives while serving in a UN peacekeeping operation, will be held on June 1 at the UN headquarters in New York.

Tann Phearoth, wife of Sergeant Som, said she will attend the commemoration ceremony today.

“We miss him. We see him in front of us every day,” she said. “This is his sacrifice for the nation and the world, and I am very proud of him.”

The UN said Cambodia is the 32nd largest country contributing peacekeeping personnel to their missions.

It said there are currently close to 800 active military personnel from Cambodia taking part in missions in Abyei, the Central African Republic, Lebanon, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan.

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