The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, has charged personnel of Ghana’s security agencies on UN peacekeeping mission to guard jealously the country’s enviable record in the past 70 years.
Addressing service men and participants at the forecourt of the State House during a Flag Raising and Wreath Laying Ceremony in commemoration of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers and 70 years of peacekeeping, Mrs. Botchwey observed that even though the dynamics of peacekeeping has changed over the years, it is still incumbent on Ghanaian UN peacekeepers to respect and obey the rules of engagement governing UN peacekeeping.
She added that the Nana Akufo Addo-led government will not shield any Ghanaian peacekeeper who acts contrary to the law while on peacekeeping.
“Allow me on behalf of the Government of Ghana, to express my deep sense of appreciation to Ghanaian uniformed and civilian men and women who continue to make our country proud through selfless service during these operations. We salute these gallant men and women and encourage you to guard strongly, our legacy in peacekeeping operations,” the Minister for Foreign Affairs said.
On the issue of sexual abuse allegations amongst UN peacekeeping operations around the world, the Minister indicated that the government takes a serious issue with sexual exploitation and abuse in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
She added that the Nana Akufo Addo-led administration will take swift punitive measures against any membersof Ghana’s troops who are proven to have misconducted themselves while on peacekeeping duties.
“As a member of the UN Secretary General’s Circle of Leadership Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Operations, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has made a personal commitment to help in preventing sexual exploitation and abuse.
“He is also dedicated to supporting efforts aimed at the restoration of dignity of victims, by implementing steps to end impunity and hold perpetrators to book,” Mrs Botchway said.
UN Resident Coordinator
In her remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock, conveyed the UN Secretary General’s goodwill message to UN peacekeepers all over the world. She underscored that the UN Secretary General, Antònio Gutierrez, recognizes the legacy of service and sacrifice of peacekeepers around the world and he is committed to taking action for the sustenance of peacekeeping operations as well as finding ways to make peacekeeping safe and more effective in today’s challenging world environment.
Honoring Fallen Heroes
As part of the ceremony, the United Nations recognised the late Lance Corporal Emmanuel Sakyi Agyei, a Ghanaian UN peacekeeper who died while on active duty in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December, 2016 and Staff Sergeant Boniface Atanyik a Ghanaian UN peacekeeper who died while on active duty in Lebanon in 2017. Their families were presented with the Dag Hammarskjöld Award to Fallen Heroes and Heroines.