UN to Honor Fallen Cambodian Peacekeepers in NYC Ceremony

Commemorative medals will be bestowed upon three Cambodian soldiers who lost their lives while serving as U.N. peacekeepers in the West African nation of Mali last year, with a ceremony due to be held at the organization’s New York headquarters on Friday, according to a U.N. statement.

Ny Nol, 32, Meak Sereivatana, 26, and Samkun Chan were part of a 309 Cambodian contingent sent to the U.N. Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINSUMA), a mission created in 2012 after the seizure of northern Mali by Tuareg rebels.

The three Cambodian soldiers will be awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medal, given to fallen peacekeepers “who lost their lives in 2014 while serving with the United Nations as a result of hostile acts, accidents and disease,” the U.N. statement released Tuesday says.

The families of Ny Nol and Meak Sereivatana, who died from food poisoning in Mali last June, said they had not been invited to attend the ceremony.

“It is very good they will hold an honoring ceremony because my brother sacrificed his life for the nation and the world,” said Ny Taing In, Ny Nol’s younger brother. “We regret that they did not invite our family to join the ceremony.”

Mr. Taing added that when his brother’s body was repatriated, his family received about 12 million riel (about $3,000) from the Cambodian Red Cross and the Defense Ministry.

Chan Pichry, mother of Meak Sereivathana, welcomed the news but said she was disappointed her family received little compensation from the government or the U.N.

“I am proud of my brave son who lost his life for the U.N. mission,” she said. “But I am very disappointed because my family barely received any compensation.”

Ms. Pichry added the Training Center for Multinational Peacekeeping Forces in Kompong Speu province will hold a ceremony for the three men Thursday.

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