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29.05.2006 General News

Ghanaian Peacekeepers To Be Honoured

FIVE Ghanaian peacekeepers are to be honoured by the United Nations, as part of activities marking this year's International Day of UN Peacekeepers which falls today.

Commander Seth Amoama of the Ghana Armed Forces, currently serving with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York, will receive a peacekeeping service medal at a ceremony to be held at the UN Headquarters on Wednesday.

According to a statement from the Ghana Armed Forces, four other Ghanaian peacekeepers, who died while on duty at different UN peace missions, will be honoured posthumously.

They are: Corporal Christian Azumah Mensah who died on February 8, 2005 while serving with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Staff Sergeant Mark Akpor, who died on March 19, 2005 while serving with UN Operations in Cote D'Ivoire (UNOCI).

Others are Sergeant Emmanuel Megbetor, who died on September 4, 2005 while serving with the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC); and Chief Inspector Robert Amoako of the Ghana Police Service, who died on November 21, 2005 while serving with the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

They are among 124 peacekeepers being honoured posthumously. Their medals will be received by representatives of the respective Permanent Missions at the United Nations and forwarded to the next of kin.

UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan will address the ceremony, while Under-secretary General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Guehenmo, will present the medals.

In December 2002, the General Assembly designated May 29, as the International Day of UN Peacekeepers, to pay tribute to “all men and women who have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace”.

The date, May 29, was chosen because on that day in 1948, the first UN peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) began operations with a group of unarmed military observers in Palestine.

UN peacekeeping, built on almost 60 years of experience in the field, remains an indispensable tool for the Member States to use in tackling threats to international peace and security.

Currently, there are almost 90,000 personnel serving on 18 UN peace operations on four continents.

Ghanaian soldiers and policemen and women have served in UN peace missions in Lebanon, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Georgia, Eritrea-Ethopia, East Timor, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Western Sahara.

This year, Ghana has chosen the theme “Keeping the Peace Without Arms”, to focus attention on the role of military observers, who serve unarmed, despite all the risks associated with peacekeeping.

To honour Ghana's peacekeepers, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony and parade will be held at Independence Square in Accra today.

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