UNITED NATIONS, January 23. /TASS/. Fifty-six UN peacekeepers were killed last year, the highest number of fatalities since 1994, said a report released on Monday.
"In 2017, there had been 56 fatalities at the time of publication - the highest number since 1994. These numbers go beyond a normal or acceptable level of risk, and they are likely to rise even higher. Something needs to change to reverse the trend," said the report directed by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The 35-page document said that since 1948, more than 3,500 personnel have lost their lives during the United Nations peace operations with 943 due to acts of violence. "During the past four years (2013 - 2017) a consistent increase in peacekeeper fatalities due to violent acts resulted in 195 deaths," the report read.
In November 2017, the UN chief tasked retired Brazilian Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos with analyzing the situation and explaining the increase in fatalities. After trips to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, the Central African Republic, South Sudan and other countries, where the UN conducted peacekeeping operations, the commission led by the general came to a conclusion that "the blue helmet and flag do not offer natural protection."Peacekeeping environments now feature armed groups, terrorists, organised crime, street gangs, criminal and political exploitation, and other threats," the report said. The UN Secretariat has drawn up an action plan envisaging particular steps to improve combat readiness of the UN missions.