The Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix has on the 19th October 2022 expressed appreciation to Sierra Leone for its strong support to the United Nations Peacekeeping and the service and sacrifice of its military and police personnel deployed under the UN flag.
Sierra Leone’s participation in UN peacekeeping began in the early 1960s when it deployed peacekeepers to the UN Operation in the Congo (ONUC). It rejoined peacekeeping in 2004 by providing police officers to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Today, Sierra Leone provides 67 uniformed personnel, including 43 women, to 9 UN peace operations.
Sierra Leone’s largest deployment is with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) where 28 of its peacekeepers currently serve, 27 of whom are women. It also provides uniformed personnel to the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). Previously, it also participated in UN peace operations in Liberia, Nepal, Timor-Leste, West Africa, and Yemen.
“Sierra Leone is one of a few countries that once hosted UN Peacekeeping operations (1998-2005), and that now proudly deploys its peacekeepers to other countries in need of international support”, said Lacroix.
Among the peacekeeper Sierra Leone is currently contributing to UN peace operations, nearly two-thirds are women.
“The UN appreciates the service of the Sierra Leonean peacekeepers who work in some of the world’s most fragile political and security environments. We also pay tribute to 41 of their colleagues who have lost their lives while serving the cause of peace under the UN flag. In addition, we thank Sierra Leone for its efforts to increase the number of women within our ranks through the UN’s Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy,” he said.
Sierra Leone also endorsed the Secretary-General’s ‘Action for Peacekeeping (A4P)’ initiative, which aims to strengthen peacekeeping through more targeted mandates, stronger and safer operations, better equipped and trained forces, and mobilizing support for political solutions.