Sri Lanka Army

Defender of the Nation



The United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping efforts commenced in the year 1948 with its involvement in the Middle East to observe and maintain the ceasefire during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Since then, United Nations peacekeepers have taken part in many missions around the globe, 12 of which are continuing as of today. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. The Chapter 6 in the United Nations Charter describes the Security Council's power to investigate and mediate disputes while Chapter 7 discusses the power to authorize economic, diplomatic, and military sanctions, as well as the use of military force, to resolve disputes. The first UN peacekeeping efforts was a team of observers deployed to the Middle East in 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The mission was officially authorized on May 29, 1948. This date is used as a memorial day to all the UN peacekeepers who have died known as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.


The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has rendered a significant contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions and assisted the UN in its efforts to maintain peace and security throughout the world. Participation of Sri Lankan Army peacekeepers in the UN missions goes back to late 1957, to the first 'classical' peacekeeping mission to end the Suez War in the First United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF-1). It followed up with a small scale contingent, deployed in Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) in 1960.After several decades of silence, due to domestic upheavals, the Sri Lanka Army re-commenced its contribution to the UN with a deployment of an infantry battalion in Haiti in 2004 (MINUSTAH). As at present, troops of the Sri Lanka Army are deployed in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) and The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) UN missions and Major General W.H.K.S Peris RWP RSP USP ndu working as Military advisor of Permanent Representative Office in the UN Headquarters, New York. More than 3500 troops are deployed as members of contingents in UNIFIL , UNMISS and MINUSMA in resent past. Further, 356 Officers served as Staff Officers and Military Observers in UN missions and also in the UN Headquarters in New York.

There have been altogether more than 20415 troops who have served as UN peacekeepers to-date (Including the United Nations Stabilization Mission Haiti (MINUSTAH) mission and the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) – Israel and some have paid the supreme sacrifice in their effort in making the world a peaceful planet to live with harmony. Apart from being subjected to strict selection process, one of the compulsory prerequisites for anybody to don the UN 'Blue Helmet' is the clearance from Human Rights (HR) violations. It has been the practice throughout in the UN for all nationals, and Sri Lanka Army has been enthusiastically engaged in that process with a view to producing the best of peacekeepers. It is the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) that assists the Sri Lanka Army, as in the case of other sister services and the Police, in obtaining HR clearance for specific troops who have been selected to embark on this noble UN peacekeeping duty. In that effort, the Sri Lanka Army and the HRCSL maintain strong cordial and professional relations with mutual understanding and respect for difficulty of carrying out their respective roles which are open to the public domain.

Since the beginning of their involvement in UNEF-1 in Israel and the subsequent contribution to the MONUC in Congo in 1960s, Sri Lankan armed forces have been continuing to serve the United Nations Stabilization Mission Haiti (MINUSTAH) with 1106 Officers and 15186 Other Ranks, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) with 146 Officers and 1927 Other Ranks, United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) with 147 Officers and 470 Other Ranks manning a Level-11 Hospital and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) with 78 Officers and 916 Other Ranks. By May 2023, a total of 20415 members of the Sri Lankan Army have effectively and successfully fulfilled the UN responsibilities to the best of their capacity and ability and received laurels from UN peers in view of their service commitment, dedication and high standards of disciplined professionalism. The sustained training and education on UN procedures, rules and regulations as well as laid down standards, being imparted at the Institute of Peacekeeping Support Operations Training Sri Lanka (IPSOTSL), founded in 2004 has conveniently facilitated the Sri Lankan troops to undertake any overseas UN assignments.