Send off ceremony for Airfield Engineering Unit 891 and EOD Unit 231 to the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Excellency Pol Saroeun, Senior Minister in Charge of Sending Troops to UN Peacekeeping Missions and High Representative of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen.
Excellency General Sem Sovanny, Director- General of the National Center for Peace Keeping Force, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) Clearance.
Airfield Engineer Unit 891 and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit EOD 231 to the United Nations Mission in Mali.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege to represent the United Nations in this send off ceremony for Airfield Engineering Unit 891 and EOD Unit 231 to the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)
As peacekeepers, the mission that you are about to embark on will undoubtedly challenge you professionally and personally. With your departure today, you are entering a community of nations, united in their quest for peace and a better future for all. Your dedication to help others, to share your skills with other countries that are suffering from conflict, is invaluable and a great source of hope and inspiration to many
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the Annual Dialogue with Samdech Prime Minister, the United Nations country team had a chance to also convey our profound gratitude to the Royal Government of Cambodia for its sustained support to global peacekeeping efforts.
UN Secretary General, António Guterres recognized this as well in his address to at the ASEAN-UN Ministerial Meeting last September. I quote, “United Nations peacekeeping is a concrete example of multilateralism in action, and ASEAN Governments have a strong record of support. I am extremely grateful for your support.” – unquot
Cambodia more specifically has sent a total of 6,053 personnel (295 of them female) to UN Missions since 2006. Cambodia remains one of the largest contributing countries in the ASEAN, with 797 Cambodian peacekeepers, including 54 women, currently deployed in several countries in Africa and the Middle East. And today, another 298 personnel (25 of whom are female) from Airfield Engineer Unit 891 and EOD 231 are departing to join this family of UN peacekeepers
Out of 122 contributing countries, Cambodia is listed at top 29, with most troops to UN peacekeeping missions. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate once again the Royal Government and all Cambodian peacekeepers for this contribution.
Please join me in applauding all the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces Peacekeeping Teams past, present and future for their dedication to providing assistance abroad.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have made this point in the past. But it important to repeat, that the need for women peacekeepers is more pressing than ever. Women have a vital role to play in preventing conflict, as well as in building and maintaining peace. In many cases, women are better-placed to carry out a number of crucial peacekeeping tasks, including interviewing victims of sexual and gender-based violence, working in women’s prisons, assisting female ex-combatants during the process of demobilizing and reintegration into civilian life and mentoring female cadets at police academies.
Achieving gender parity is also a priority of UN Secretary General António Guterres who, since taking office, implemented this priority vigorously across the UN system. This includes the crucial need to importantly reach gender parity in peacekeeping.
It is very encouraging to see the continuous participation of Cambodian women in UN peacekeeping missions. They represent a positive shift toward equality in the Cambodian Armed Forces. Military service requires courage from all, but special courage is demonstrated by these women who have worked hard to break gender barriers and pursue careers in a male-dominated field
We need to bring women at the heart of building peace and security. I applaud you courageous women in uniform for your commitment and service to your country.
Peacekeepers of Airfield Engineer Unit 891 and EOD 231, as you embark on your mission, you become part of the United Nations family. As you might be aware, the UN has a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation and abuse. In this particularly sensitive context, I have no doubt you will lead by example and uphold the highest standard of integrity. I hope you will keep this in mind throughout your mission.
As we bid farewell to you, I hope that you take pride in making the world a better and safer place; and most importantly in modeling the values of the United Nations in all you do. The United Nations is grateful to you, the Royal Government and the people of Cambodia for helping to make peace a reality in a foreign land.
Thank you for your service and I wish you the very best for your mission.