Category Archives: Latest News

New Ghanaian Battalion Takes Charge in South Lebanon

June 11, 2018 – UNIFIL’s Ghanaian Battalion (GHANBATT) saw a change in command of its 850-strong force operating in furthering peace in south Lebanon, last week.

At a transfer of authority ceremony held in the Battalion headquarters in Al Qawzah on 6 July, the outgoing Commanding Officer Lt Col William Nortey passed the mantle to his successor Lt Col Fiifi Deegbe. The newly arrived peacekeepers will serve with UNIFIL for one year.

In his address, the Sector West Commander Brigadier General Paolo Fabbri noted that Ghana has been one of the most important troop contributing countries since 1978 in support of the UNIFIL efforts in the pursuit of peace, security and stability in south Lebanon.

GHANBATT’s area of responsibility includes a 23-kilometer stretch of the Blue Line within their area of responsibility in south Lebanon.

As one of UNIFIL’s 42 troop contributors, Ghana has the highest number of women peacekeepers in Lebanon.

Ghanaian Peacekeepers Support Special Needs School and Community Centre

July 11, 2018 – UNIFIL’s Ghanaian peacekeepers donated last week a photocopier to a special needs school in Ayta ash-Shaab and a 30 KVA generator set to a community centre in Al Qawzah, Lebanon.

The Ghanaian peacekeepers from the outgoing battalion (GHANBATT 84) had organized a benefit musical concert in the UNIFIL Headquarters in Naqoura on 22 June to raise funds to buy the equipment.

UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander Brigadier General Paolo Fabbri attended a ceremony to hand over the generator on 6 July.

Between their peacekeeping operational duties, UNIFIL peacekeepers carry out a number of activities in the communities they serve in order to preserve and strengthen their ties. https://unifil.unmissions.org/ghanaian-peacekeepers-support-special-needs-school-and-community-centre

First ever UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States to open in New York

Accra, 27 June 2018 – The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will on Thursday, 28 June 2018 convene the first United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States at UN Headquarters under the theme “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the evolving threat of terrorism.” The 2-day Conference will provide an opportunity for the UN and Member States to forge new partnerships to address the complex and transnational threat of terrorism.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

In an Op-Ed, the UN Secretary General called for a concerted multilateral response at global, regional and national levels to defeat the threat of terrorism. He writes “Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be defeated by any single government or organization… we must also address root causes by promoting education, tackling youth unemployment and addressing marginalization.” through the engagement of local communities, religious organizations and the media.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the General Assembly has opened at UN Headquarters. In advance of the event, the Secretary-General issued on 20 April his report on the activities of the UN System (A/72/840) (http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/72/840). The Review will provide an opportunity for Member States to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Strategy and to discuss the way forward.

 

UNHCR Ghana calls on Government to accede to UN Conventions on Statelessness

Accra, 20 June 2018 – The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ghana office and the Ghana Refugee Board (GRB) have called on the Government to develop the legal pathways for local integration of protracted refugees in the country and accede to the two UN Conventions on Statelessness.  The call was contained in a statement read in Parliament by a Member of Parliament of Ningo-Prampram, Hon. Samuel Nartey George, as part of commemorative events to mark World Refugee Day in Accra.

Minister of Information addressing the audience

At a ceremony held in Accra in commemoration of the Day, the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock commended Ghana’s efforts at meeting the needs of refugees over the past years.  The Chairman of the GRB, Professor Kenneth Attafuah reiterated the need to recognise the opportunities that refugees bring to their host countries. The Minister of Information, Hon. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid shared his personal life experience growing up as a son of a refugee.  He noted that “we must realise that refugee situations are real and it could happen to anyone”.

eShun performing

There was a presentation by High Level Influencer (HLI) Kwame Amfo-Akonnor, calling for support for refugees under the LuQuLuQu campaign.  HLI eShun, a Ghanaian singer also added her voice to the call in a performance dedicated to the stateless.

UNIC Accra Launches UNCTAD’s EDA Report 2018

Accra, 31 May 2018 – This year’s Economic Development in Africa report has reinforced the argument that migration is not necessarily a bad thing.  The report affirms the potential of migration, if properly managed, to transform Africa’s economy.  It argues that intra-African migration is a catalyst for economic growth and structural transformation and further suggests that, besides contributing to economic growth, safe and orderly migration, can contribute significantly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s agenda 2063.

Eric Akomanyi [L], Philip Cobbina [M], Cynthia Prah of UNIC Accra [M] and Sylvester Kartey [R]

The EDA Report 2018 was launched in Accra on May 31 by the UN Information Centre.

Presenting the report, a Lecturer from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Mr. Philip Cobbina said, it is important that African countries take such reports seriously and situate findings of the EDA Report into their local context.  He said by so doing, “we shall be able to identify how migration can impact us specifically”.  According to Mr. Cobbina, who is also a Managing Director of CICADA Consulting Limited, once such reports are launched, it is up to the responsible government, in this case the Ministry of Interior, to take the report and begin working with it to validate the findings within the local context.

Mr. Akomanyi making his presentation

A Project Assistant at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) country office, Mr. Eric Akomanyi noted that the relationship between migration and development has long been established by the IOM and for which reason it welcomes the release of the report by the UN Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Mr. Akomanyi highlighted a number of areas in which the IOM is working in support of the country’s development agenda as far as migration is concerned. These areas include a 2017 baseline assessment of remittances and the ensuing work to address identified challenges in the sector, the “Connecting the Diaspora for Development” project to facilitate knowledge and skills transfer to Ghana and, IOM’s role in the process to ensure the development of a Labour Migration Policy for Ghana.

Representing the Minister for the Interior, a Deputy Director of the Ministry, Mr. Sylvester Kartey, commended UNCTAD for the report and noted that the findings would be studied by the Ministry to inform its work on migration.

 

 

Ghana Observes 70 Years of UN Peacekeeping

Accra, 29 May 2018 –  The 70th anniversary of the International day of UN Peacekeepers was observed in Ghana with two major events.  The first was a high-level dialogue on the anniversary theme: “United Nations Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice”. The dialogue brought together former UN staff who shared with an audience of about 300, their experiences during their service as peacekeepers.  For the first time since his retirement from active service, the First Force Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), General Emmanuel Erskine, was invited via Skype to join in the conversation. With a commanding and strong voice, as if in active service, General Erskine recounted his active service.  He had one message for all UN Peacekeepers and aspirants: “It is imperative to respect the cultures and religion of indigenous population you meet”. He commended the organisers of the event and

A cross section of the audience at the Dialogue

the UN for recognizing and celebrating the #ServiceAndSacrifice of peacekeepers. Other panel members included Major General Henry Anyidoho former Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) and Deputy Joint Special Representative for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, former Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Rule of Law in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

Ms Evans-Klock laying a wreath on behalf of Fallen Peacekeepers

On May 29, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held in honour of Ghanaian Peacekeepers all over the world and in remembrance of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock acknowledged Ghana’s commitment to UN peacekeeping efforts.

Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

For her part, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the Government will take swift punitive measures against any Ghanaian UN peacekeeper who is proven to have misconducted him/herself in the line of duty, adding that “Government takes a serious view to issues of SEA in UN peacekeeping operations.”

A photo exhibition on “UN Peacekeeping:  70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” to mark the 2018 International Day of UN Peacekeepers” was mounted at both events.

UNIFIL, Lebanese Army pay last respect to Ghanaian fallen UNIFIL peacekeeper Corporal Mercy Adade

UNIFIL, 11 April 2018 – UNIFIL and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) today paid last respects with full honours to Corporal Mercy Adade of the Ghanaian Contingent, who passed away at the age of 36 in the early morning of 5 April following short illness. Cpl. Adade is survived by a son.

Senior UNIFIL officials, including Deputy Force Commander, Major General Shivaram Kharel, LAF Commander’s representative Brigadier General Hasan Haider and fellow UNIFIL peacekeepers assembled at the tarmac of the Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut to honour the peacekeeper.

Major General Kharel, Brigadier General Haider and UNIFIL’s Sector West Commander, Brigadier General Rodolfo Sganga, laid a wreath at the airport in memory of late Cpl. Adade, whose body was flown back to Ghana today.

In his remarks at the solemn ceremony, Major General Kharel – representing UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major General Michael Beary – said words cannot express the pain and sorrow at the loss of one of its peacekeepers.

“On this day, we remember Mercy and the thousands of peacekeepers around the world who have lost their lives in the quest for lasting peace,” he said. “The people of Lebanon and UNIFIL are grateful to Mercy for all her sacrifices. We must all strive to work for peace in memory of all our colleagues who did not make it.”

At the ceremony, Cpl. Adade was honoured posthumously with UNIFIL and LAF Medals.

“We honour her selflessness, bravery and service to the United Nations, Lebanon and Ghana,” said Major General Kharel. “Although she is no longer with us, her legacy will live on.”

Cpl. Adade was a dedicated, hardworking and professional soldier who served in the Ghana Army for about 11 years. Her journey as a peacekeeper began in Côte d’Ivoire about eight years ago and she fought to keep the flag of peace flying right until the end. She was deployed as a medical clerk to UNIFIL on 22 June 2017 for a one-year tour.

“Her loss has left a void in the Ghanaian Battalion and the Ghana Armed Forces that cannot be filled,” said the Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel William Nortey. “Cpl. Mercy had been the pride of Ghana and was a role model to follow in a UN Peacekeeping operation.”

Since UNIFIL’s establishment in 1978, over 300 peacekeepers have died while serving for peace in south Lebanon.

Article: Tilak Pokharel
Stills: Mohamad Hamze

https://unifil.unmissions.org/unifil-lebanese-army-pay-last-respects-fallen-unifil-peacekeeper-ghana

UN expert on extreme poverty to visit Ghana from April 9-18

GENEVA (3 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, will visit Ghana from 9 to 18 April 2018 to examine the government’s efforts to address poverty through the lens of international human rights law.

“It is widely recognised that Ghana has made great strides in poverty eradication over the past two decades, but government statistics indicate that poverty is still prevalent and inequality is on the rise,” said the human rights expert.

Philip Alston

“This is a critical time in Ghana’s history, as the macroeconomic turbulence of the past few years is beginning to stabilise and the country is seeking its own development path. It will be important for the government to address the rising inequality and keep human rights at the centre of its policies, if the country’s longer-term development goals are to be achieved.”

Alston will meet with government officials, civil society organisations, academic experts, and people living in poverty to address a range of issues. These include the specific challenges of urban and rural poverty, the extent and efficacy of the government’s social protection programmes, the ways in which those who are not wealthy fare in the criminal justice system, and the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities who are living in poverty.

He will visit Accra, Old Fadama, Tamale, Bolgatanga, and rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions.  Continue reading

Students in Ghana take part in Remember Slavery event

Accra, 28 March 2018 – Several students from three universities in Ghana took part in this year’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade commemorative event.  The event was hosted by Ashesi University College in Berekuso, outside Accra.

Exhibition

There was an exhibition entitled “A Legacy of Black Achievement”, featuring 21 notable personalities from various backgrounds, eras, regions and disciplines who paved the way for civil and human rights. The students were very delighted and inspired to have identified three Ghanaian personalities amongst the list.

The film, “Familiar Faces, Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora”, was screened.  The film highlights the countless Afro-communities found in unexpected parts of the world and shows how African descendants maintained elements of their common culture.

Eli Tetteh

A lecturer in English and Literature at the Ashesi University College, Mr. Eli Tetteh, gave an expose on the theme of the Day which is “Slavery: Triumph and Struggles for Freedom and Equality.”  Using popular culture, such as music and movies, Mr. Tetteh expatiated upon the elements of the slave trade and prejudice in modern times. He noted that “the global experience of blackness is interconnected” and asked the youth to reflect on these when they listen to music and watch movies.  He further stressed on the need for us to study slavery and the slave trade from a broader perspective instead of limiting our focus on either the gains or the pains so that we can make informed choices and decisions in our interaction with people.

The occasion provided useful insight into the objectives of the Day, which are to “Inculcate in future generations the causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice” to prevent its re-occurrence. The students were very appreciative of the learning opportunity offered them by UNIC Accra through this event.  Some of them committed to express their knowledge in writing.  Read about the #RememberSlavery event from the students’ perspective.

Empowering Rural and Urban Women: The time is NOW

Accra, 8 March 2018 – The world has come a long way in the stride towards gender equality.  You and I have come a long way since 1995 when the Fourth World Conference on Women came up with a blueprint for promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment known as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. the Platform for Action imagines a world where each woman and girl can exercise her freedoms and choices, and realize all her rights, such as to live free from violence, to go to school, to participate in decisions and to earn equal pay for equal work.

UN Resident Coordinator, Christine Evans-Klock

The Beijing process was a significant period in the cause for gender equality because it unleashed remarkable political will and worldwide visibility from governments, individuals and civil society and reinforced the activism of women’s movements on a global scale. Conference participants went home with great hope and clear agreement on how to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment. Ghana for example developed its first action plan for the Implementation of the Beijing platform in 1999; to date some significant progress has been made, especially at the national level with regards to gender equality and women empowerment.

Twenty-three (23) years on, we celebrate progress made, and reflect on the steps we need to make to achieve all the aspirations of the platform for action.

Read further an op-ed written by the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms. Christine Evans-Klock.