Three Ghanaian Peacekeepers who died last year while serving under the United Nations Flag were today (May 29,2014) presented with posthumous awards,the Dag Hammarskjold Medals at the UN headquarters in New York.
They are Lt. Col. Jack Franklin Glawu, who passed on while serving with the United Nations -African Union Hybrid Operation in Dafur (UNAMID),Corporal Daniel Kwaku Sasu and Private Kwabena Nyarko,both of whom were serving with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)
Ambassador Ken Kanda, Ghana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations received the medals on their behalf from the UN Under Secretary for Peacekeeping, Mr Herve Ladsous,at the solemn ceremony to mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
The three were among 106 UN peacekeepers from 38 countries who died last year in the line of duty. They were all posthumously awarded the Dag Hammarskjold medals, which were received on their behalf by the Ambassadors of their respective countries.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that the ceremony is a reminder of the many dangers of peacekeeping, the courage of the individuals who serve, and the grave responsibility of the Security Council members,the Secretariat officials and the contributing countries sending personnel into insecure areas to protect the most vulnerable.
He explained that the medals which were the highest tribute to them,were conferred in the name of Secretary General Hammarskjold, who gave his life for the cause of peace, saying “Like him, all of the recipients leave a proud legacy, We pledge to carry it forward into the future”.
“At this time of sombre reflection, let us remember that while peacekeeping carries a high cost in terms of lives lost, it also brings an enormous return in lives saved”, the Secretary General said,stressing that among those honoured are peacekeepers who died protecting civilians in South Sudan.
The UN Under Secretary for Field Support, Ms. Ameerah Haq,received the medals on behalf of 22 civilian peacekeepers who also paid the ultimate price in pursuit of peace,and said “we can pay no greater tribute to those who have lost their lives than to ensure that their aspirations are pursued and ultimately realized”.
The civilian colleagues in the field toil day-in, day-out on the front lines of today’s conflicts. While mediating inter-tribal conflicts, documenting human rights violations, or reporting on the state of fragile ceasefire agreements, they carry out their work at great personal risk and sacrifice, she explained.
For the first time,the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon laid a wreath at a newly created monument at the UN headquarters in honour of the 106 fallen heroes and to remember the more than 3200 people who lost their lives in the history of UN peacekeeping.
He noted that last year was the sixth in a row that more than 100 peacekeepers died, while some were killed when their convoys came under attack, others lost their lives to explosions,lost their lives to explosions or had their lives taken by floodwaters or shot while protecting civilians,while others succumbed to deadly diseases and other dangers that are part of their life-saving work.
More than one million peacekeepers have served in more than 70 operations on the four continents since the UN’s establishment in 1948.
Currently, there are more than 116,000 UN personnel from more than 120 countries serving in peacekeeping operations at great personal risk.
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