International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers

Media Release: Office of the Hon. Darren Chester, Canberra ACT.

29 May 2020

Today is the International Day of United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers, which provides an opportunity for all Australians to show their respect to those who have served and contributed to global peacekeeping.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, police and civilians have been involved in more than 50 multi-national peacekeeping operations for more than 70 years.

Almost 25 years of continuous bloodshed followed the tiny Portuguese colony’s invasion by Indonesia in 1975. A vote for independence in 1999 led to an unimaginable campaign of violence by pro-Indonesian militias, supported by elements of the Indonesian security forces. Indonesia agreed to the deployment of a multinational peacekeeping force – the International Force for East Timor (Interfet), a non-UN force operating in accordance with UN resolutions. Led by Australia’s Major General Peter Cosgrove, Australian troops helped restore peace and security, and humanitarian assistance began. A decade on, Australia remains the largest contributor of personnel to the peacekeeping mission. 20mm 3D antique brass lapel badge

“Australian men and women have made a significant contribution to worldwide peace, with peacekeepers in the field with the UN since 1947, where in the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia) they were part of the very first group of UN military observers anywhere in the world,” Mr Chester said.

“Tragically, 16 Australians have died while serving as peacekeepers striving for peace in regions around the world and tomorrow we will honour their memory and thank all those who have served in UN operations.”

Over the past 55 years members of Australia’s police services have also served in peacekeeping operations around the world.

“Peacekeeping operations in which Australia has been involved have lasted months, years or even decades, and have seen small to large deployments, often at short notice.”

The beautiful Peacekeepers Medallion On Card. Features the Australian Peacekeepers Insignia and a the names of the peacekeeping missions Australia have been actively involved in. This 48mm medallion Depicts the symbolic crest of peace on the front and a list of the Australian Peacekeeping missions on the reverse.

“I would encourage Australians to pause tomorrow on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, as we honour all peacekeepers and their contribution to making the world a safer place.”
Australia has made significant contributions to peace operations, including commanding operations in Kashmir, Cambodia, the Sinai, Iraq and East Timor. Currently, Australians are deployed on operations in South Sudan, the Middle East and Cyprus.

To learn more about Australia’s UN Peacekeeping history, go to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Anzac Portal

The beautiful Peacekeepers Sticker, order now from the military specialists. Features the Australian Peacekeepers Insignia and a the names of the peacekeeping missions Australia have been actively involved in. This Sticker features the symbolic crest of peace.

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling, provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their
families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241
4546) or visit


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