United Nations Medal

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United Nations Medal
UNMEE medal.jpg
United Nations Medal awarded for service with UNMEE
TypeService medal
Awarded forService with a designated United Nations peacekeeping mission
Presented bythe United Nations
Post-nominalsPNBB[citation needed]
StatusCurrently awarded
Next (lower)NATO Medal (in US precedence)

A United Nations Medal is an international decoration awarded by the United Nations (UN) to the various world countries members 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 (1950–1953). 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[edit]

United Nations Medal ribbon bar

The most common United Nations medal is the standard UN 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 UN activity.

In situations where a service member participated in multiple UN 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]

The UN has authorised the award of numerals to be attached to the medal ribbon. The qualification for these numerals is not to indicate the number of campaigns served in, but rather the number of qualifying periods of service. Which are counted as 180 days after the initial qualifying period of 90 days if the service is performed as 270 days consecutive. For two or more deployments, each deployment has to be at least 90 consecutive days each.[5]

United Nations Korea Medal[edit]

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 1953. 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.[6]

United Nations Emergency Force Medal[edit]

United Nations Emergency Force Medal (UNEF)

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.[7] 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.[8] 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[edit]

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.[9]

In East Timor, the medals awarded for UNAMET, UNTAET and UNMISET all have the same ribbon.[10]

Years Ribbon bar Operation Operation area
1948– United Nations Medal (UNTSO - Middle-east) UNTSO Middle East
1949– United Nations Medal (UNMOGIP - India, Pakistan) UNMOGIP India, Pakistan
1958 United Nations Medal (UNOGIL - Lebanon, Syria) UNOGIL Lebanon, Syria
1960–1964 United Nations Medal (ONUC - Democratic Republic of the Congo) ONUC Congo
1962–1963 United Nations Medal (UNSF - Papua (province) - West-Papua and Indonesia) UNSF West-Papua and Indonesia
1963–1964 United Nations Medal (UNYOM - Yemen) UNYOM Yemen
1964– United Nations Medal (UNFICYP - Cyprus) UNFICYP Cyprus
1965–1966 No Mission Medal DOMREP Dominican Republic
1965–1966 United Nations Medal (UNIPOM - India, Pakistan) UNIPOM India, Pakistan
1973–1979 United Nations Medal (UNEF II - Egypt, Israel) UNEF II Egypt, Israel
1974– United Nations Medal (UNDOF - Golan Heights) UNDOF Golan Heights
1978– United Nations Medal (UNIFIL - Lebanon) UNIFIL Lebanon
1988–1991 United Nations Medal (UNIIMOG - Iraq, Iran) UNIIMOG Iraq, Iran
1988–1990 United Nations Medal ribbon.svg UNGOMAP Afghanistan, Pakistan
1988–1991 UNAVEM Medal ribbon.gif UNAVEM I Angola
1989–1990 UNTAG.gif UNTAG Namibia
1989–1992 ONUCA Medal bar.gif ONUCA Central America
1991–2003 ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNIKOM BAR.svg UNIKOM Kuwait, Iraq
1991– UN Medal MINURSO ribbon bar.svg MINURSO Western Sahara
1991–1995 UNAVEM Medal ribbon.gif UNAVEM II Angola
1991–1995 ONUSAL Medal bar.gif ONUSAL El Salvador
1991–2003 UN Medal UNGCI BAR.svg UNGCI Iraq
1991–1992 UNAMIC Medal bar.gif UNAMIC Cambodia
1992–1995 ONZ Medal w Służbie Pokoju UNPROFOR BAR.svg UNPROFOR Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina
during the Yugoslav Wars
1992–1993 UNTAC Medal bar.gif UNTAC Cambodia
1992–1993 United Nations Medal, Operation in Somalia ribbon.svg UNOSOM I Somalia
1992–1994 ONUMOZ Medal bar.gif ONUMOZ Mozambique
1993–1995 United Nations Medal, Operation in Somalia ribbon.svg UNOSOM II Somalia
1993–1994 UNOMUR Medal bar.gif UNOMUR Rwanda, Uganda
1993–2009 UNOMIG Medal bar.gif UNOMIG Georgia
1993–1997 UNOMIL Medal bar.gif UNOMIL Liberia
1993–1996 UNAMIR Medal bar.svg UNAMIR Rwanda
1993–1996 UNMIH.svg UNMIH Haiti
1994 No mission medal UNASOG Libya Chad
1994–2000 UNMOT Medal bar.svg UNMOT Tajikistan during civil war
1995–1997 UNAVEM Medal ribbon.gif UNAVEM III Angola
1995–1999 UNPREDEP Medal bar.gif UNPREDEP Macedonia
Years Ribbon bar Operation Operation area
1995–1996 UNPROFOR Medal bar.gif UNCRO Croatia
1995–2002 UNMIBH Medal bar.svg UNMIBH Bosnia-Herzegovina
1996–1998 UNTAES Medal bar.gif UNTAES Croatia
1996–1997 UNMIH.svg UNSMIH Haiti
1996–2002 UNMOP Medal bar.gif UNMOP Croatia
1997 MINUGUA Medal bar.gif MINUGUA Guatemala
1997–1999 UNAVEM Medal ribbon.gif MONUA Angola
1997 UNMIH.svg UNTMIH Haiti
1997–2000 UNMIH.svg MIPONUH Haiti
1998 UNPSG Medal bar.gif UNPSG Croatia
1998–2000 MINURCA Medal bar.gif MINURCA Central African Republic
1998–1999 UNOMSIL Medal bar.gif UNOMSIL Sierra Leone
1999– UNMIK Medal bar.gif UNMIK Kosovo
1999 UNAMET Medal bar.gif UNAMET East Timor
1999–2005 UNOMSIL Medal bar.gif UNAMSIL Sierra Leone
1999–2002 UNAMET Medal bar.gif UNTAET East Timor
1999–2010 MONUC Medal bar.gif MONUC Democratic Republic of the Congo
2000–2001 UNMIH.svg MICAH Haiti
2000–2008 Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea Medal ribbon.png UNMEE Eritrea, Ethiopia
2002–2005 UNAMET Medal bar.gif UNMISET East Timor
2003–2018 UNMIL Ribbon bar.svg UNMIL Liberia
2003–2004 MINUCI Ribbon bar.png MINUCI Ivory Coast
2004–2018 UNOCI Ribbon bar.svg UNOCI Ivory Coast
2004–2017 MINUSTAH Ribbon bar.svg MINUSTAH Haiti
2004–2006 UNONUB.png ONUB Burundi
2005–2011 UN Mission in Sudan ribbon.png UNMIS Sudan
2006–2012 UNMIT.png UNMIT East Timor
2007–2020 UNAMID Ribbon bar.svg UNAMID Sudan
2007–2010 UN Medal MINURCAT ribbon bar.svg MINURCAT Central African Republic, Chad
2010– MONUC Medal bar.gif MONUSCO Democratic Republic of the Congo
2011– UNISFA Ribbon bar.svg UNISFA Sudan
2011– UNMISS Ribbon bar.svg UNMISS South Sudan
2012 UN UNSMIS Medal ribbon.svg UNSMIS Syria
2013– MINUSMA Medal ribbon.png MINUSMA Mali
2014– UN MINUSCA ribbon.png MINUSCA Central African Republic
2017–2019 MINUJUSTH ribbon.png MINUJUSTH Haiti
1974– UNHQ Medal bar.gif UNHQ For service in the United Nations Headquarters

United Nations Special Service Medal[edit]

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, work with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and more.

Receipt and wear of UN Medals[edit]

France, Australia, Canada and New Zealand[edit]

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


Personnel of the Armed Forces are allowed to wear United Nations medals if they choose to. Such medals shall be worn after National and Presidential decorations, decorations of the Ministry of Defense, decorations of the General Staff, decorations of other military units, Ministries and departments and before decorations of the European Union and NATO in order of award.[11]

United Kingdom[edit]

Other countries, in particular the United Kingdom, permit British citizens to receive the relevant United Nations medal and authorization for it to be worn is given by the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development 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[edit]

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.[12][13] On US uniforms, the UN Medal is worn before the NATO Medal, except for the United Nations Korea Medal, which is worn as a campaign medal just before the Vietnam Campaign Medal.

US military personnel are eligible to wear the medal from one of the following United Nations operations as their one approved medal:[14]

  • UN Truce Supervisory Organization in Palestine (UNTSO)
  • UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP)
  • UN Observation Group in Lebanon (UNOGIL)
  • UN Security Forces, Hollandia (UNSFH)
  • UN Temporary Executive Authority (UNTEA)
  • UN Security Force in West New Guinea [West Irian] (UNSF)
  • UN Iraq/Kuwait Observation Group (UNIKOM)
  • UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO)
  • UN Advance Mission in Cambodia (UNAMIC)
  • UN Protection Force in Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR)
  • UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)
  • UN Operation Somalia (UNOSOM)
  • UN Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ)
  • UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG)
  • UN Mission in Haiti (UNMIH)
  • UN Preventive Deployment Force (UNPREDEP)
  • UN Transitional Administrational Administration for Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirium (UNTAES)
  • UN Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH)
  • UN Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA)
  • UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK)
  • UN Assistance Mission in East Timor (UNAMET)
  • UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET)
  • UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC)
  • UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE)
  • UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET)
  • UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
  • UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)
  • African Union / United Nations Hybrid Operation In Darfur (UNAMID)
  • UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT)
  • UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)
  • UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA)
  • UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)


Members of the Argentinian Armed Forces are allowed to wear the different UN medals as separate decorations. However, authorization for use must be formally requested for every single medal, and is granted on an individual basis. Regulations for the use of either medals or ribbons apply for each uniform. In the Argentinian Army, a national-issued, maroon-and-white bar showing the number of tours of duty may be worn in lieu of (but not together with) the UN-issued ribbons.


Members of the Swiss Armed Forces are allowed to wear one UN ribbon (of their choice between all UN awarded decorations). The ribbon is to be worn before EU (Althea Mission) or NATO ribbons but after the Swiss ribbons. Numbers are allowed on the UN ribbon as well as on other allowed "foreign" ribbons.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UN peacekeeping – Medals: background". United Nations. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  2. ^ "United Nations Medals". The Institute of Heraldry. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  3. ^ "DH&R – Canadian Honours Chart". Cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 22 May 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Retrospective Awards of the United Nations Medal and Ribbon Numerals" (PDF). Defence Honours and Awards. Government of Australia Department of Defence. p. 2. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Personnel Archives & Medals".
  6. ^ "Regulations United Nations Service Medal Korea" (PDF). Australian Government, Department of Defence. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  7. ^ "United Nations Emergency Force (Egypt)-UNEF". Veterans Affairs Canada. Retrieved 21 September 2012.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "UN Medals – UNEF". United Nations. 16 June 1997. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  9. ^ "UN Medals – UNMIH". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  10. ^ "UN Medals – UNAMET/UNTAET". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Про затвердження Правил носіння військової форми одягу та знаків розрізнення військовослужбовцями Збройних Сил України та ліцеїстами військових ліцеїв" [On approval of the Rules of wearing of military uniform and insignia by personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and cadets of military lyceums] (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  12. ^ "United Nations Medals". The Institute of Heraldry. Department of the Army. Archived from the original on 2016-06-17. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  13. ^ "United Nations Medal". Air Force Personnel Center. Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  14. ^ "DoD Approved UN Missions and Actions for Acceptance of the UN Medal" (PDF). Manpower and Reserve Affairs The Office of the Assistant Secretary Defense. Department of Defense. Retrieved 17 May 2016.

External links[edit]