UNFICYP launched a photo exhibition on Friday in the buffer zone at Ledra Street Crossing in Nicosia, on the occasion of the 9th annual International Day of UN Peacekeepers, which this year has the theme “Rule of Law”. UNFICYP Chief of Mission Lisa Buttenheim, the aides of the two leaders in Cyprus, George Iakovou and Kudret Ozersay, UNFICYP Senior Police Adviser John Farelly, members of the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters as well as top UNFICYP and UN officials in Cyprus attended the event. The exhibition contains a number of photographs focusing on the activities of the mission’s police force, as the theme for this year’s observance is “rule of law”.
Lisa Buttenheim, in her speech noted that at this very moment, more than 120.000 military, police and civilian personnel are serving in 15 peace operations around the globe. Referring to Cyprus, she said that since the inception of UNFICYP in March 1964, a total of 150.000 peacekeepers have served in the country. Buttenheim noted that since 1964 a total of 181 peacekeepers lost their lives while serving on duty across the island. Buttenheim also spoke of the role of the UN police officers who have been contributing to the maintenance and restoration of the law and order and they work closely with the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters.
George Iakovou, Representative of President Christofias , in his speech said that “amongst all those that have acknowledged the importance of peace keeping are of course Cypriots, because UNFICYP has made a significant contribution to peace in Cyprus”, adding that “we are really hopeful that this particular effort over the last few months will yield the desired results that will bring peace on our island”. Kudret Ozersay, Representative of Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, said that “we are here to thank the peacekeepers on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side for all their efforts and contributions in order to maintain stability on the island”.
In his speech, John Farelly, UNFICYP Senior Police Adviser said that UN Police has enjoyed good working relationships with the “police services” on both sides and there is a daily contact relative to matters of mutual interest. The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated 29 May as the Day, as it was the date in 1948 when the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.