Chinese Peacekeeping Battalion Awarded UN Medal for Service
Chinese peacekeepers serving with the United Nations in Juba have had many reasons to celebrate over the last two days.
Yesterday was the National Day of the People’s Republic of China. Today they had another reason to celebrate with a Medal Parade Ceremony for the third Chinese Peacekeeping Battalion to serve with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Despite the scorching hot sun, the 698 men and women stood proudly in their immaculately polished boots, white gloves and the classic blue berets with the UN insignia, as they waited to be pinned with the UN Medal by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Moustapha Soumaré.
Speaking at the ceremony which brought together personnel from different military contingents, UN Police, civilians and dignitaries, the Deputy SRSG said the UN mission recognized the “dedication, commitment and professionalism” of the troops.
He noted that thirteen members of the contingent were women, highlighting the impact of female officers in peacekeeping.
“The role and contribution of female officers is especially crucial in a place like South Sudan by making uniformed personnel more accessible to the most vulnerable civilians,” said Moustapha Soumaré.
The Deputy SRSG encouraged troop contributing countries to further strengthen the participation of women in uniform.
Since the deployment of the battalion in December 2016, the Chinese contingent has taken strong action to build and maintain a safe and secure environment for the people of South Sudan, including patrolling at the Protection of Civilians (POC) site near the UN base and taking part in search operations to keep criminals and weapons out of the site.
They have also carried out patrols within the capital Juba as well as long distance along dangerous and damaged roads to reach vulnerable people in the remotest areas of the country.
The Commanding Officer, Ding Hai Long, expressed his gratitude to the UNMISS family for their continued support in helping the Chinese Battalion, also known as CHNBATT, fulfill their mandate. He commended the UN mission for its consolidated efforts towards building durable peace in South Sudan.
“It would not have been possible without the cordial working relationship established with all the family members of the army,” he said. “All this work would not have been achieved without the guidance and the great support of UNMISS leadership at the different levels.”
In his address delivered in Mandarin, one of the six official languages of the UN, Chinese Ambassador to South Sudan, He Xiang Dong said he is hopeful that the assistance to the people of South Sudan by CHNBATT will contribute towards a positive image of both UN peacekeepers and the Chinese army.
For almost three decades, China has contributed more than 30,000 UN peacekeepers to 24 different Missions and it is the second largest financial contributor to peacekeeping.
To conclude the ceremony, the audience was treated to perfectly synchronized martial art performances, displaying the impressive strength and skill of the troops.
A minute’s silence was observed in honour of peacekeepers who have lost their lives in service, within South Sudan as well as in other peacekeeping missions around the world.