UN Peacekeepers Day marked in Accra

Ghana will continue to co-operate with the United Nations (UN) in its peacekeeping operations to assist maintain peace the world over, the Minister of the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery has said. 

He said since Ghana’s independence in 1957, the country had kept faith with the tenets of its foreign policy in line with pursuing peace and maintaining peaceful coexistence and cooperation with its neighbours and the world at large.

Delivering the keynote address at a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony in Accra yesterday to mark the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers, Mr Dery said Ghana’s commitment to world peace and stability had been evident in her continuous steadfastness and willingness to answer the call for peacekeeping troops to serve in various conflict zones around the world.

Annual celebration

The annual celebration is observed on May 29 to honour and pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations.

It is also a day to pay tribute to UN peacekeepers who died while on peacekeeping operations.

The 2017 commemoration was held on the theme: “UN peacekeeping operations: investing in peace and security.”

This year, two Ghanaian soldiers who were among 117 soldiers who died while on peacekeeping duty in 2016, were honoured with the Dag Hammarskjold medal posthumously at the Headquarters on May 24, 2017, as part of activities to mark the 2017 Day.

Ghana is currently ranked the 10th largest contributor of uniformed men and women to UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr Dery said the quest for peace had sometimes come at a great cost as brave and gallant men and women had lost their lives in the pursuit of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and diseases, while on peacekeeping operations.

“ As we commemorate this day, let me, on behalf of the government and the people of Ghana, offer our heartfelt condolences to the widows, widowers and bereaved families of our fallen heroes and those who have been permanently maimed or suffered various degrees of injury, while performing this noble duty,” he said.

He said it was through the enormous sacrifices of those heroes and heroines that many people around the world were living in varying measures of peace and in a fairly secure and stable environment.

UN Secretary-General

In a statement read on his behalf by the UN resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said the UN was in the process of reforming its peacekeeping missions to improve their effectiveness in the increasingly challenging environment in which peacekeepers worked.

On his priorities upon assumption of office, the UN chief mentioned ending the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse committed by UN personnel and peacekeepers as one of his priorities.

“We are by no means perfect. But when we make mistakes, we learn from them, striving continuously to deploy our personnel and assets in a way that is not just responsible but beneficial to the people and communities we serve,” he said.

Mr Guterres said he was looking forward to working with member states in delivering that priority.

He was of the opinion that partnership between the world body and member states was central to the success of peace- keeping missions since the member states decided where troops were deployed, their role and the resources made available to them.

“Our close co-operation is vital if we are to deliver on the promise of lasting peace, while peacekeepers create conditions on the ground to enable solutions to emerge and take root,” he said.

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