Two fallen peacekeepers from Ghana are being honoured posthumously today, at special wreath laying ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.
The ceremony is in commemoration of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers which is marked globally, on May 29, a statement published on the website of the UN has said.
The two are late Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frank Sammy Kwofie, who served with the UN Police in the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur(UNAMID) and the late Corporal Mercy Adade, who served with the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon(UNIFIL).
The wreath laying, presided over by the UN Secretary- General, Antonio Guterres, honours all UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948 and the Dag Hammarskjold Medal, is being awarded posthumously to 119 military, police and civilian peacekeepers who lost their lives in 2018 and early this year.
The Secretary General will also award the “Captain Mbaye Diagne Medal for Exceptional,” named after a Senegalese peacekeeper who was killed in Rwanda, in 1994, after saving countless civilians, posthumously to Private Chancy Chitele of Malawi, who was killed while saving the life of a fellow peacekeeper, from Tanzania, in the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This year’s International Day of the United Nations Peacekeepers is on the theme “Protecting Civilians,Protecting,” and the UN Secretary -General in a message said “This year, the United Nations marks 20 years since the Security Council first mandated a peacekeeping mission to protect civilians. Peacekeepers protect men, women and children from violence every day, often at great personal risk.”
While the day is marked today at the UN headquarters, Ghana will join the UN missions and offices around the world to commemorate the day on Wednesday, May 29.
Ghana is the 9th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping. It currently contributes nearly 2,800 personnel to the UN peace operations in Abyei, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lebanon, Mali, the Middle East, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and the Western Sahara.
In a video message to mark the wreath laying , the Secretary-General said “Today we honour the more than one million men and women who have served as UN peacekeepers since our first mission in 1948.We remember the more than 3,800 personnel who paid the ultimate price.
“And we express our deepest gratitude to the 100,000 civilian, police, and military peacekeepers deployed around the world today and to the countries that contribute these brave and dedicated women and men,” he said.
Jean-Pierre Lacriox, Under Secretary General for Operations said “UN Peacekeeping deploys to some of the most complex and difficult places,protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable .We are working in partnership with member states to implement the Secretary -General’s Action for Peacekeeping initiative to strengthen peacekeeping , including to improve how we protect civilians, which is at the heart of our work. For hundreds of millions, peacekeeping is the last best hope and it needs all our support.”
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman