UN peacekeepers come from all walks of life, with diverse cultural backgrounds and from an ever-growing number of Member States.When they serve under the United Nations they are united by a commitment to maintain or restore world peace and security. They share a common purpose to protect the most vulnerable and provide support to countries in transition from conflict to peace.
Peacekeepers are civilian, military and police personnel all working together. The roles and responsibilities of peacekeepers are evolving as peacekeeping mandates become more complex and multidimensional. Peacekeeping operations have developed from simply monitoring ceasefires to protecting civilians, disarming ex-combatants, protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law, supporting free and fair elections, minimizing the risk of land-mines and much more.
Tragically over 3,500 peacekeepers have lost their lives in the cause of peace. Their sacrifice on behalf of the international community are one of the most concrete expressions of the UN Charter’s determination “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” You can find about the nationality and the missions they served in the fatalities data section.
Women in Peacekeeping
Women are deployed in all areas – police, military and civilian – and have made a positive impact on peacekeeping environments, including in supporting the role of women in building peace and protecting women’s rights.
In all fields of peacekeeping, women peacekeepers have proven that they can perform the same roles, to the same standards and under the same difficult conditions, as their male counterparts. It is an operational imperative that we recruit and retain female peacekeepers.
In 1993, women made up 1% of deployed uniformed personnel. In 2019, out of approximately 95,000 peacekeepers, women constitute 4.7% of military contingents and 10.8% of formed police units in UN Peacekeeping missions. While the UN encourages and advocates for the deployment of women to uniformed functions, the responsibility for deployment of women in the police and military lies with Member States. UN Police Division launched ‘the Global Effort’ to recruit more female police officers into national police services and into UN police operations around the world. The 2028 target for women serving in military contingents is 15%, and 25% for military observers and staff officers. The 2028 target for women serving in formed police units is 20%, and 30% for individual police officers.
Find out more in our gender statistics section to download a monthly breakdown of the number of male and female uniformed personnel working across our missions.