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Gov’t Committed to Preventing Sexual Harassment and Abuse – Ms Botchway

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The government will take swift punitive measures against any member of Ghanaian troops or civilian personnel who is proven to have misconduct him/herself whiles on peacekeeping duties.

This is regardless of exemplary high standards that Ghana’s peace keepers on UN Missions have held themselves to over the years.

Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, announced this at this year’s International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers’ Flag-Raising and Wreath-Laying ceremony in Accra.

She said government takes serious view to the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse in the United Nations Peacekeeping operations.

“As a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Circle of leadership against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in United Nations 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 support efforts aimed at the restoration of the dignity of victims, by implementing steps to end impunity and hold perpetrators to account,” she added.

This year’s anniversary celebration under the theme, “UN Peacekeepers: 70 Years of Service and Sacrifice” has brought together security officers, the Diplomatic Corps and Ministers of State, Traditional Rulers from Ga Traditional Areas and the public.

The occasion was also used to honour Lance Corporal Emmanuel Sekyi and Staff Sargent Attayiri Bonaface, the two fallen Ghanaian Officers, who lost their lives during UN peacekeeping duty in 2017.

Ms Botchway said in celebrating the gallant peacekeepers who have served tirelessly over the span of seven decades, “let us remind ourselves that, the attainment of peace is a collective effort by all stakeholders.

“Let us, therefore, work together and guard against any threats that would undermine the aspirations of our citizens and the rest of the world,” she said.

The Minister also expressed government’s condolences to the families of the fallen peacekeepers who have endured the pain of losing their relatives, however close or distant, for the cause of peace.

“The immense contribution and sacrifices of the families of peacekeepers to the overall Peacekeeping architecture, particularly of the UN, cannot be over-emphasised. Many of you have had to care for or attend to colleagues who get incapacitated or suffer various degrees of injuries and even death, in the line of duty.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude and do acknowledge the indelible legacy of our fallen heroes, which has guaranteed global peace and stability for present and succeeding generations,” she added.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in a message read on his behalf by the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, Ms Christine Evans-Klock, he said, “As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping – action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments”.

The United Nations was formed on May 29, 1948 and since then, men and women of diverse nationalities and varied professional competences, far removed from the arenas of conflict, disaster and extreme deprivation, have contributed to peace and security in ant parts of the world.

As at April, 2018, Ghana ranked as the 10th largest contributor to UN Missions, worldwide, with a total 2,645 peacekeepers.

Source: GNA

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