"Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said, "United Nations peacekeeping is a model of burden-sharing among countries, but we must never forget that the brunt of this burden is borne by individuals." Too often this burden has resulted in the ultimate sacrifice - the loss of a peacekeeper's life in the service of peace. Since the UN's first peacekeeping mission was established 60 years ago, more than 2,400 peacekeeping personnel (military, police and civilian) have lost their lives in the line of duty as result of violence, disease and accident.
Single operations have suffered hundreds of deaths. More than 200 personnel died in each of the UN's most dangerous missions, in the Congo in the early 1960s, in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and in Lebanon from 1978 to today.
Tragedies in recent years have shown that the United Nations flag - once a symbol that offered protection to those serving under it - no longer carries any guarantee of safety and can even bring increased risk.
The remains of three Irish peacekeepers killed during fighting in Elisabethville, Republic of the Congo being repatriated to their home country.
United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC)
Pisa, Italy, 4 January 1962, UN Photo/BZ, 105708
Memorial ceremony for a UN peacekeeper from Pakistan in Khartoum, Sudan.
United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS)
Khartoum, Sudan, 22 October 2006, UN Photo/Fred Noy, 135586