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18.05.2007 Business & Finance

Invest in peace building – Kan-Dapaah

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The Interior Minister, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah has called on African leaders to invest in peace building initiatives and conflict prevention to ensure sustainable economic development for the continent.

"African governments must see the need to invest in peace. We should be interested in peace building and conflict resolution because there cannot be development without peace", he said.

Mr Kan-Dapaah was speaking at a day's consultative meeting of peace building, human rights, and media organisations in Accra.

The meeting, which coincided with the 41st Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, seeks to create a tripartite partnership in the institutionalization of the culture of conflict prevention in the sub-region.

It is being organised by the West African Network for Peace building (WANEP) and sponsored by IBIS, a Danish development organisation. It brought together experts from the media, peace building and human rights organisations.

The meeting was on the theme: "In Search of a Common Ground among Peace Building, Human Rights Institutions and the Media for the Prevention of Violent Conflicts in West Africa".

The Interior Minister noted that while governments invested in infrastructures, health and education, it was equally important that it found ways of developing peace for lasting progress.

He said though the sub-region had had its fair share of protracted civil conflicts, some of which had not yet been fully resolved, countries like Ghana should not absolve itself from this situation, even though it plays a major role in resolving them.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said in view of the sacrifices that Ghanaians had made over the years to ensure that the country was what it was today, government could not afford to fail the people by not investing in peace.

"We have so many reasons not to allow peace to leave our shores. And our government and politicians should not be forgiven if it happens otherwise", he said.

The Minister stressed the need for governments to protect the human rights of its people, as abuses had been the major cause of conflicts in some countries.

"Today's human rights abuses are the causes of conflicts tomorrow. We cannot have peace when a section of society believes the system does not favour them", he said

Mr Kan-Dapaah also called on the media to be circumspect in their reports, as evidence adduced from certain conflicts had pointed to the fact that media reports had fanned them.

"The media itself can be the cause of conflicts through some of the allegations they make. But peace would be obtained when there is a media that upholds human rights issues and its related problems", he said.

Mr Emmanuel Bombamde, Executive Director of WANEP, said the nature and trend of conflicts had changed since the end of the cold war from ideological differences to internal with the tendency to escalate in the sub-region.

Mr Bombamde said that the bi-polar power structure that defined the world had also been replaced with a multi-polar structure.

"Characteristically, conflicts are now multidimensional, multi-factional, and often producing complex and anarchic emergencies" he said.

Mr Bombamde said peace-building fields had not sufficiently been integrated and engaged with Human Rights and media practitioners even though they operated in the same circle and needed one another.

Source: GNA

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