Safety of peacekeepers is critical – KAIPTC

By Iddi
Yire, GNA

Accra, Oct. 22, GNA – Ensuring the safety and
security of peacekeepers constitutes a significant effort in sustaining
peacekeeping missions and restoring countries back to the path of peace,
stability and development, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training
Centre (KAIPTC), said on Monday.

Brigadier General Irvine Nii-Ayitey Aryeetey,
Deputy Commandant, KAIPTC, said international peacekeeping remains a critical
framework for managing conflicts and thereby bringing about peace and political
stability in post-conflict countries.

He said in this regard, while ensuring that
civilians and vulnerable populations were protected in mission theatres,
measures to protect and preserve the lives of peacekeepers were equally
important.

Brig. Gen. Aryeetey said this at the opening
of the “Preventing Terrorism in Peacekeeping Teathres in Africa
Course” at the KAIPTC in Accra.

The course, which is being attended by over 30
participants drawn from the West African sub-region, seeks to contribute to
enhancing the operational effectiveness of peacekeepers in Africa against
terror attacks through research and training, targeting eight countries in the
West African sub-region.

After the Accra training, two more similar
courses would be held in Nigeria and Mali in November 2018 and January 2019
respectively.

It is being organised by the KAIPTC in collaboration
with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Japanese
Government.

He said the changing nature of conflicts
today, and the mutating threat of terrorism was increasingly exposing
peacekeepers to danger, necessitating the need for a critical rethinking of
training content used for peacekeepers.

He said in Mali for instance, their research
identified increasing peacekeepers casualties, which was related to weak
capacity in search and detection of mines and improvised explosive device
(IEDs).

It also hinges on limited knowledge about the
country context, and weak intelligence gathering as some key areas that need
significant improvement for peacekeepers.

“These, together with logistical
challenges has resulted in disastrous consequences on the ground for most
African peacekeepers.

“Between 2013 and 2018, the casualty level
among African troops have been described as high compared to non-African
countries, raising concerns for training institutions such as KAIPTC,
multilateral and bilateral development partners such as the UNDP and
Japan,” he said.

Mr Yasunori Nakamura, First Secretary, Embassy
of Japan, said peace and stability in Africa was one of the important factors
for development of the continent.

He said peace and security were closely
related to human security, lives and standards living of the people of Africa,
which Japan had been working on for a few decades.

“Japan sees Africa as a partner to
achieve important international agenda including peace and stability in Africa
and the world,” he stated.

Madam Gita Welch, UNDP Country Director in
Ghana, said UN peacekeeping was a unique global partnership between
contributors of civilians and uniformed service in military, police, prison and
immigration authorities, host governments and the UN in a combined effort to
maintain international peace and security.

“Our peacekeepers make immense sacrifices
serving in some of the toughest and most dangerous places in the world, going
where most cannot or will not.

“They have saved and improved the lives for
millions of people. Protected countless civilian populations, helped prevent
conflict, reduced violence and strength security in the field where it matters
most,” she said.

Madam Welch said in 2017, 62 of the 134
fatalities of UN peacekeepers were due to violent actions – nearly half.

She explained that this was the highest number
of peacekeepers fatalities through violent actions in over two decades.

She said others lost their lives in
transportation accidents or illness while serving in the cause of peace far
from home.

GNA

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