Peacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations
Australians have served in peacekeeping missions every year since 1947. The first Australian peacekeepers were deployed to the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). Their intense experience of observing the front between Netherlander troops and East Indian republicans foreshadowed the experiences of generations of Australians to come. We commemorate the contribution made in the service of peace by Australian military, police and civilian peacekeepers.
Role of peacekeepers
In 1947, the first Australian peacekeepers served as military observers to a UN operation in the Netherlands East Indies (present day Indonesia).
Peacekeepers are selected as needs arise: they can be Australian Defence Force personnel from any of our services, or public servants, state or federal police workers, aid workers, scientific or other specialists. Many civilians from Australia have served in peacekeeping roles as UN volunteers. Peacekeeping has evolved over time and requires management of complex and multi-dimensional issues. Peacekeepers usually serve in countries destroyed by war.
Duties of peacekeepers might include:
For many Australians who serve, peacekeeping can be a personally rewarding experience, offering:
However, peacekeeping missions often occur in dangerous situations. While some peacekeepers are armed and others unarmed, all peacekeepers are limited in the amount of force that they can use. At times, this places peacekeepers in challenging and dangerous situations.
Sometimes peacekeepers work alone or in small groups. More recently, Australia has committed large forces to peacekeeping missions in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.
Warrant Officer Paul Copeland, a veteran peacekeeper of Cambodia and Sinai missions, summarised the different experiences of service men and women in wartime and peacekeeping missions:
in a war it's a simple case of contacting an identified enemy and trying to win a battle. Whereas when it comes to peacekeeping you're constrained to a large degree by UN (United Nations) mandates, the charters, the ROEs (rules of engagement) and what you can and can't do
Our service men and women have helped establish Australia’s reputation as a willing, experienced and generous contributor to regional and global peace and security.
Australians as peacekeepers
Since 1947, members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have been involved in UN and other multinational peacekeeping operations. Most recently, thousands of troops have been deployed in anti-terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan, the Middle East and South West Africa. Peacekeeping locations that involved Australian military personnel include:
© 2021 All Rights Reserved. All logos and colours of the Vietnam Veterans MC and Veterans MC are copyright and registered as a trademark.
Reproduction or copying without permission is strictly forbidden