By Capt Senanu Edward Akakpo
The Ghana Battalion (GHANBATT 15) serving with the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has held a wreath-laying and flag raising ceremony to commemorate the United Nations Peacekeepers Day under the theme, “Protecting Civilians, Protecting Peace”.
The day, marked on Friday, 31st May 2019, honoured over three thousand eight hundred (3,800) peacekeepers – 98 for the year 2018, two of whom were Ghanaians – who lost their lives, serving under the UN flag since 1948.
The commemoration was also used to pay tribute to all men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peace support operations, for their show of professionalism, dedication and courage, as a two-minutes-silence was observed in honour of the departed peacekeepers, followed by the laying of wreath.
This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers was to mark 20 years since the Security Council mandated a peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) to protect civilians, during the West African nation’s infamous civil war from 1999 to 2006, as the theme was to draw attention to the state of civilians in peacekeeping and the risks peacekeepers take to ensure their protection.
Delivering the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ message on the International Day at the GHANBATT Headquarters, INCAL Complex, Colonel (Col) S Yashdeep – Commander Western Sector Tactical Headquarters – said UN peacekeeping was a vital investment in the pursuit for global peace and security and thus, requires strong international commitment.
“For millions in conflict-affected situations around the world, peacekeeping is a necessity and a hope; let us work together to make peacekeeping more effective in protecting people and advancing peace” the message added.
In attendance were Lt Col BY Asare – Chief of Staff, Western Sector Tactical Headquarters, Lt Col Sebastian Abraham Arhin, other staff members of the Tactical headquarters and some South African Peacekeepers.