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Ghana marks UN Peacekeepers Day …with flag raising, wreath laying ceremony

A flag raising and wreath-laying ceremony was yesterday held in Accra to mark the 77th International Day for United Nations (UN) Peacekeepers with a call for stronger partnerships to enhance their operations and global peace.

The event, marked by a parade of 70 personnel from the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service, was on the global theme “People. Peace. Progress: the power of partnerships.”

Ministers of State, members of the diplomatic community, security personnel and students from selected schools in Accra gathered at the forecourt of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to observe the day.

Marked every May 29, the day is used to pay tribute to the uniformed and civilian peacekeepers and to honour nearly 4,200 of their colleagues who died serving under the UN flag since 1948, including 135 last year.

Ghana is the 9th largest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping with nearly 2,600 military and police personnel currently on a mission.

Since the country deployed its first formed contingent to Congo in 1960, 147 Ghanaian serve men and women have died during various missions across the world.

This year, four deceased Ghanaian peacekeepers including Sergeant Mansfield Sekyere who served with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon were remembered for their meritorious service.

The others were Francis Kwajan and AlphonsusBieturu who served in civilian capacities in the Central African Republic and Victor Osei –Akyempong who served in a civil capacity in Congo.

Also remembered was Ghana’s first female Brigadier-General the late Brigadier-General Constance EmefaEdjeani-Afenu, who was also the first female deputy force commander in the UN Mission for Referendum in Western Sahara.

The Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Thomas Mbomba said Ghana had maintained her position as a high troop contributor because of her commitment to the promotion of global peace and security.

He said the same commitment was high on the agenda of the country in her current role as the ECOWAS Chair and membership of the UN Security Council and gave the assurance the country would continue to partner with other countries and fulfil its UN obligations to promote peace in the world.

He conveyed Ghana’s satisfaction with the high standards and professionalism demonstrated by the country’s peacekeepers on a mission and paid tribute to those who lost their lives.

“Thiers is an invaluable contribution that will forever be cherished and applauded. Memories of these fallen heroes will remain in our thoughts and prayers”, he said.

The Deputy Minister of Defence, Kofi Amankwa-Manu, said Ghana remained dedicated to its UN peacekeeping obligations in as much as it was concerned with the unpredictable security situation in the sub-region.

He said the country supported the Uniformed Gender Parity strategy 2018-2028 and had ensured that an average of 15 per cent of formed troops were female likewise 28 per cent of military observers and staff officers.

The UN resident Coordinator, Charles Abani, commended Ghana for its high contribution to peacekeepers who were helping to ensure stability in many parts of the world. He re-echoed the call for partnerships.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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