Australian Service Contingents 1 and 2 who served in Rwanda on Operation Tamar have been recognised with the award of a Meritorious Unit Citation.

Operation Tamar was Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, which consisted of sending about 700 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel in two contingents to provide medical support and security for the medics.

Private Elliot Dun cleans up a stab wound at the Busoro Clinic, Rwanda, September 10, 1994. Photo: Corporal Geoff Fox

The Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel, Darren Chester, said from 1994 to 1996 it is estimated that 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, General the Honourable David Hurley (Retd), gazetted the award of the Meritorious Unit Citation on the 25th anniversary of Australian Service Contingent 1 arriving in Rwanda.

Major Craig McConaghy and Leading Aircraftman Juste-Constant giving out gifts to children at the Kigali Goal, Rwanda, March 8, 1995. Photo: Corporal Robin White

To be eligible to wear the citation insignia with the Federation Star, members must have completed 30 days service on Operation Tamar between the dates of July 25, 1994, and March 8, 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