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A United Nations Medal is an international decoration awarded by the United Nations (U.N.) to the various world countries militaries for participation in joint international military and police operations such as peacekeeping, humanitarian efforts, and disaster relief.[1] The medal is ranked in militaries and police forces as a service medal. The United Nations awarded its first medal during the Korean War (1950–53). Since 1955, many additional United Nations medals have been created and awarded for participation in various United Nations missions and actions around the world.

United Nations Medal[]

The most common United Nations medal is the standard U.N. decoration known simply as the United Nations Medal. Most countries bestow this award for any action in which a member of the military participated in a joint U.N. activity.

In situations where a service member participated in multiple U.N. operations, service stars,[2] campaign clasps,[3] or award numbers are authorized as attachments to the United Nations Medal. These devices vary depending on the regulations of the various armed forces.[4]

United Nations Korea Medal[]

United Nations Service Medal for Korea Ribbon

UN Korea Medal

The first United Nations medal to be created was the United Nations Service Medal, also known as the United Nations Service Medal Korea, was awarded to any military service member, of an Armed Force allied with South Korea, who participated in the defense of South Korea from North Korea between the dates of 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954. The military forces of the Netherlands are awarded the medal for service to January 1, 1955, while the armed forces of Thailand and Sweden grant the award to July 27, 1955.[5]

United Nations Emergency Force Medal[]

UN Medal UNEF ribbon bar


In 1956, to maintain the peace which brought the end of the Suez Crisis the United Nations Emergency Force was established. This was the first Peacekeeping operation of the United Nations.[6] To reward the service of troops from Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, India, Norway, Sweden and Yugoslavia those troops who completed ninety days of service with the UNEF were awarded the United Nations Emergency Force Medal. The mission lasted from November 1956 until June 1967.[7] It is unique from other United Nations Medals in that instead of saying UN on the obverse, it says UNEF. Subsequent missions did not use the missions abbreviation on its medals.

United Nations Medal ribbons[]

In most nations, the standard United Nations Medal is awarded in lieu of a campaign specific medal. Most operations utilize a different ribbon for each mission, though there have been some notable exceptions. In some countries where the UN Security Council determines a mission in the same geographic region, but changes the mission mandate by way of Security Council Resolution, there may be a number of missions which have identical campaign ribbons and then later will change the ribbon to reflect the changing environment. The United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH) was originally established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 867 on 23 September 1993 and lasted until in June 1996. This mission was an effort to end the conflict and instability caused by the 1991 Haitian coup d'état. Subsequent missions to maintain stability and train the Haitian National Police were undertaken under UNSMIH, UNTMIH, MIPONUH, and MICAH. These subsequent missions all used the same medal as UNMIH.[8]

In East Timor, the medals awarded for UNAMET, UNTAET and UNMISET all have the same ribbon.[9]

Years Ribbon bar Operation Operation area
1948– UNTSO Medal bar UNTSO Middle-east
1949– UNMOGIP Medal bar UNMOGIP India, Pakistan
1958 UNOGIL ribbon bar UNOGIL Lebanon, Syria
1960–1964 ONUC Medal bar ONUC Congo
1962–1963 UNSF UNTEA Medal bar UNSF West-Papua and Indonesia
1963–1964 UNYOM Medal bar UNYOM Yemen
1964– UNFICYP Medal bar UNFICYP Cyprus
1965–1966 UNMOGIP Medal bar UNIPOM India, Pakistan
1973–1979 ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNEF BAR UNEF II Egypt, Israel
1974– ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNDOF BAR UNDOF Golan Heights
1978– UNIFIL ribbon bar UNIFIL Lebanon
1988–1991 UNIIMOG Ribbon bar UNIIMOG Iraq, Iran
1988–1990 UNTSO Medal bar UNGOMAP Afghanistan, Pakistan
1988–1991 UNAVEM Medal ribbon UNAVEM I Angola
1989–1990 UNTAG UNTAG Namibia
1989–1992 ONUCA Medal bar ONUCA Central America
1991–2003 ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNIKOM BAR UNIKOM Kuwait, Iraq
1991– UN Medal MINURSO ribbon bar MINURSO Western Sahara
1991–1995 UNAVEM Medal ribbon UNAVEM II Angola
1991–1995 ONUSAL Medal bar ONUSAL El Salvador
1991–1992 UNAMIC Medal bar UNAMIC Cambodia
1992–1995 ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNPROFOR BAR UNPROFOR Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav Wars
1992–1993 UNTAC Medal bar UNTAC Cambodia
1992–1993 UNOSOM Medal bar UNOSOM I Somalia
1992–1994 ONUMOZ Medal bar ONUMOZ Mosambique
1993–1995 UNOSOM Medal bar UNOSOM II Somalia
1993–1994 UNOMUR Medal bar UNOMUR Rwanda, Uganda
1993–2009 UNOMIG Medal bar UNOMIG Georgia
1993–1997 UNOMIL Medal bar UNOMIL Liberia
1993–1996 UNAMIR Medal bar UNAMIR Rwanda
1993–1996 UNMIH UNMIH Haiti
1994–2000 UNMOT Medal bar UNMOT Tajikistan during civil war
1995–1997 UNAVEM Medal ribbon UNAVEM III Angola
1995–1999 UNPREDEP Medal bar UNPREDEP Macedonia
Years Ribbon bar Operation Operation area
1995–1996 UNPROFOR Medal bar UNCRO Croatia
1995–2002 UNMIBH Medal bar UNMIBH Bosnia-Herzegovina
1996–1998 UNTAES Medal bar UNTAES Croatia
1996–1997 UNMIH UNSMIH Haiti
1996–2002 UNMOP Medal bar UNMOP Croatia
1997 MINUGUA Medal bar MINUGUA Guatemala
1997–1999 UNAVEM Medal ribbon MONUA Angola
1997–2000 UNMIH MIPONUH Haiti
1998 UNPSG Medal bar UNPSG Croatia
1998–2000 MINURCA Medal bar MINURCA Central African Republic
1998–1999 UNOMSIL Medal bar UNOMSIL Sierra Leone
1999– UNMIK Medal bar UNMIK Kosovo
1999 UNAMET Medal bar UNAMET East-Timor
1999–2005 UNOMSIL Medal bar UNAMSIL Sierra Leone
1999–2002 UNAMET Medal bar UNTAET East-Timor
1999–2010 MONUC Medal bar MONUC Democratic Republic of the Congo
2000–2001 UNMIH MICAH Haiti
2000–2008 Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea Medal ribbon UNMEE Eritrea, Ethiopia
2002–2005 UNAMET Medal bar UNMISET East-Timor
2003– UNMIL Ribbon bar UNMIL Liberia
2003–2004 MINUCI Ribbon bar MINUCI Ivory Coast
2004– UNOCI Ribbon bar UNOCI Ivory Coast
2004– MINUSTAH Ribbon bar MINUSTAH Haiti
2004–2006 UNONUB ONUB Burundi
2005–2011 UN Mission in Sudan ribbon UNMIS Sudan
2006–2012 UNMIT UNMIT East-Timor
2007– UNAMID Ribbon bar UNAMID Sudan
2007–2010 UN Medal MINURCAT ribbon bar MINURCAT Central African Republic, Chad
2010– MONUC Medal bar MONUSCO Democratic Republic of the Congo
2011– UNISFA Ribbon bar UNISFA Sudan
2011– UNMISS Ribbon bar UNMISS South Sudan
2013– MINUSMA Mali
1974– UNHQ Medal bar UNHQ For service in the United Nations Headquarters

United Nations Special Service Medal[]


UNSSM ribbon

For 90 days of service with a United Nations mission or organization where there is no specific approved United Nations medal, personnel may be eligible for the United Nations Special Service Medal (UNSSM). Some examples of qualifying service are the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, or the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs Accelerated De-Mining Programme (MADP) in Mozambique.

Receipt and wear of UN Medals[]

France, Australia and New Zealand[]

Some nations, such as France, the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand permit members of the military and police to receive and display multiple United Nations Medals as separate decorations.

United Kingdom[]

Other countries, in particular the United Kingdom, permit a service member to receive the relevant United Nations medal and authorization for it to be worn is given by the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Numerals may be added to denote multiple tours to one mission, the medals are worn in order of award and take precedence alongside British campaign medals.

United States[]

In the United States armed forces, prior to 13 October 1995, all US military personnel wore the blue and white United Nations Ribbon regardless of the ribbon awarded. On 13 October 1995, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) approved a change to the wear policy of the United Nations Medal. Effective on that date, personnel who are awarded the United Nations Medal may wear the first medal and ribbon for which they qualify, adding a bronze service star for subsequent awards of the United Nations Medal for service in a different mission. No more than one UN medal or ribbon may be worn at a time.


Members of the Argentinian Armed Forces are allowed to wear the different UN medals as separated decorations. However, authorization for use must be formally requested for every single medal, and is granted on an individual basis. In the Argentinian Army, a maroon-and-white ribbon showing the number of tours of duty may be worn in lieu of the UN-issued ribbons.

See also[]


  1. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "UN peacekeeping - Medals: background". United Nations. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "United Nations Medals". The Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  3. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "DH&R - Canadian Honours Chart". Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  4. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Retrospective Awards of the United Nations Medal and Ribbon Numerals". Defence Honours and Awards. Government of Australia Department of Defence. p. 2. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "Regulations United Nations Service Medal Korea". Australian Government, Department of Defence. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  6. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "United Nations Emergency Force (Egypt)-UNEF". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  7. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£ (16 June 1997). "UN Medals - UNEF". United Nations. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  8. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "UN Medals - UNMIH". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  9. Republic of Égyptien Q42 user:mgbtrust0 ®™✓©§∆∆∆€¢£. "UN Medals - UNAMET/UNTAET". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 

External links[]

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