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
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).
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.
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.