UN commends Ghana for professionalism in peacekeeping

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock  laying a wreath

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock laying a wreath

The United Nations yesterday commended Ghana for her professionalism and courage in peacekeeping operations across the world, at a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony held in Accra to commemorate the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.

“On behalf of the UN, I would like to express our gratitude for the contribution that Ghana makes in UN Peacekeeping operations,” the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in statement read by the UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock.

The solemn occasion was marked in Accra with the laying of wreaths and flag-raising of the UN and Ghana flags, amid the soothing sound of the bugle by the military in veneration of the fallen and serving peacekeepers.

More than one million military, police and civilian personnel have served as UN peacekeepers since 1948 and over 3,500 have lost their lives in the course of global peace and security operations, following which May 29 has been set aside to honour them.

The Chief of Defence  Staff, Lieutenant General  Obed Boamah Akwa  and the Inspector General of Police, David  Asante Apeatu  graced  the occasion which was attended by ministers of state, Members of Parliament, members of council of state, traditional rulers and members of the  diplomatic corp. On parade were contingents of Ghana Armed Forces and the police, who are traditional Ghanaian peacekeepers to UN operations since 1960.

The Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Derry, on behalf of the people and government of Ghana laid a wreath in honour of the fallen peacekeepers, while Ms Evans-Klock laid one on behalf of the UN.

In addition, Deputy Minister of Defence, Major (rtd) Derek Oduro and Mrs Vivian Glawu laid wreaths on behalf of the security services and bereaved families respectively.

In apparent reference to the theme of the celebration, “Invest in Peacekeeping around the World,” the Secretary General said: “today peacekeeping budget – less than one half of one per cent of global military spending is money well spent. It is a fraction of the cost of allowing conflict to spread and erode the gains of economic development. The investment is multiplied by the economic growth and prosperity that follow from stability and security after successful peacekeeping mission.”

He said, “Demand for UN peacekeeping has risen steadily over the years and deployment is now near an all time high. Peacekeeping has had a positive impact on the lives of millions of people around the worlds.”

Mr Derry said for over 50 years Ghana had maintained an enviable position in the ranking of troops and police contributing countries in UN peacekeeping operations,  paying glowing tribute and expressing condolences to the families of the  fallen heroes  as well as those injured.

He said the surge in the demand for complex peacekeeping operations had placed new strains on the international system, troop contributing countries, as well as the troops, who were increasingly facing grave threats.

Mr Derry used the occasion to emphasise the importance of the values of tolerance, unity and respect for the rule of law in the country’s body politics saying, “we can succeed in building a vibrant and stable democracy underpinned by a prosperous economy, only if we work relentlessly to maintain the peace  and security that we have enjoyed for decades.”

A photo exhibition displaying Ghana’s role in peacekeeping operations was mounted as part of activities to commemorate the day.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

PIX: BUXTON

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