Five peacekeepers finish their tour of duty with UNMOGIP
United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) bid farewell to five UN Military Observers (UNMOs) in a ceremony at UNMOGIP Headquarters in Islamabad on 11 January 2018.
In absence of the Head of Mission and Chief Military Observer, Major General Per Lodin, Nester Odaga-Jalomayo, Chief of Mission Support, presented shields to the UNMOs as a token of their service. “2017 was the year we received the highest number of complaints into alleged ceasefire violations in the history of UNMOGIP. We really commend you all for a good job done during this tough year,” he said.
The five UNMOs completing their year of service with UNMOGIP are Lieutenant Colonel Javier Cesar De Armas Serron (Uruguay), Major Henry Macatangay (Philippines), Major Victor Rodrigo Lobos (Chile), Captain Hrvoje Slabek (Croatia) and Captain Matthias Nef (Switzerland) who shared their thoughts with colleagues during the farewell ceremony.
“My assignment to UNMOGIP was a wonderful experience in a very different culture. After my mission, I can say that I know a lot more about Kashmir and its people; one of the friendliest people I have met,” said Major Lobos. “The people of Kashmir are going through challenging times. I will keep these memories in my heart and carry these lessons with me back to my country and my professional life,” he added.
“I congratulate all my colleagues for the great teamwork. Most of the time, we are only two or three observers per field stations and we worked very hard this year,” said Lt. Colonel De Armas Serron.
In 2017, the Mission received the highest number of complaints from Pakistan in the last decade and has already carried out most of the investigations into alleged ceasefire violations. It is tedious work performed by only 44 UNMOs, monitoring the approximately 770 kilometre-long Line of Control and Working Boundary in rugged terrain and high altitude and sometimes in difficult weather conditions.
UNMOGIP was established in 1948 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The mandate of the Mission is to observe and report by conducting investigations, area reconnaissance, observation posts, field visits and field trips.