AUSTRALIAN soldiers deployed as peacekeepers to Rwanda during one of the worst humanitarian disasters of the 20th century are now being honoured for their resilience and bravery.
The Australian Service Contingents 1 and 2 who served in Rwanda on Operation Tamar are being recognised from today with a Meritorious Unit Citation. The citation is awarded to units that sustained outstanding service in warlike operations.
Operation Tamar was Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, which saw about 700 ADF personnel in two contingents providing medical support and security for the medics.
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said that from 1994-96, more than 800,000 innocent civilians were killed in Rwanda by armed militias and trained military forces – attracting worldwide attention and condemnation.
“The men and women of Australian Service Contingents 1 and 2 demonstrated extraordinary courage, discipline and compassion in the performance of their duties and on behalf of their country we recognise their meritorious service,” Mr Chester said.
The Governor-General, His Excellency General David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), gazetted the award of the Meritorious Unit Citation today, on the 25th Anniversary of Australian Service Contingent 1 arriving in Rwanda.
To be eligible to wear the citation insignia with the Federation Star, members must have completed 30 days service on Operation Tamar between 25 July 1994 and 8 March 1996.
Veterans who believe they are eligible are encouraged to apply directly to the Department of Defence, through the Defence Medals Online Application form.
Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au