UNIFIL participation: March marks Fiji’s 40 years of involvement

Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou pays tribute to the fallen soldiers during Fiji’s 40th Anniversary Celebration for the participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon at Churchill Park in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

ABOUT 100 ex-servicemen marched through the streets of Lautoka yesterday morning to mark Fiji’s 40th year of participation in the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Speaking at the celebration held at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou saluted the thousands of men and women who had contributed to Fiji’s exemplary reputation in missions abroad over the past four decades.

“As a developing island nation, our contribution to global peace through peacekeeping came at a price where more than 60 Fijian peacekeepers lost their lives upholding the values of tolerance and reconciliation embodied in the UN charter,” he said.

“Many soldiers suffered injuries and hardship while being deployed in peacekeeping missions.”

Mr Tuitubou said the contribution by members of the Fiji Police Force and Fiji Corrections Service during tours of duty should also be noted.

“Their exemplary service has directly contributed to the reputation of Fijian forces as exceptional peacekeepers.

“Fiji is currently engaged in eight active missions abroad and this is a testament of the hard work and sacrifice of our peacekeeping personnel.

“Fijian peacekeepers have served in Angola, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kuwait, Cambodia, Croatia, Darfur, Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liberia, Sinai, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, southern Sudan and Timor Leste,” he added.