UN Peacekeepers Day: Celebrating our courageous Ghana Armed Forces

As we join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of UN Peacekeepers today, the Daily Graphic honours the bravery and selflessness of the men and women who have served in these critical missions worldwide. 

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Among the many that have contributed to this noble cause, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) stands out for its unwavering commitment and dedication to keeping the peace, even in the face of unimaginable horrors.

Ghana's commitment to UN peacekeeping is not limited to one mission alone. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission in 1948, Ghana has consistently provided troops and support to various missions worldwide.

From the scorching deserts of Mali to the treacherous terrain of the Congo to Lebanon, Liberia to Sierra Leone, Cambodia and East Timor, Ghanaian peacekeepers have served with distinction, earning a reputation for professionalism and courage.

One such instance was during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, when Ghanaian troops remained steadfast in their duty to protect civilians while the rest of the world fled. As the situation spiralled out of control, with reports of mass atrocities and ethnic cleansing, Ghana's peacekeepers refused to abandon their posts. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, they stood firm, providing a beacon of hope to those seeking refuge.

The significance of the GAF’s role in Rwanda cannot be overstated. Their presence was a lifeline to those trapped in the conflict, and their bravery inspired others to follow suit. The GAF’s unwavering support for international peace and security is a beacon of hope in a world torn apart by conflict and division.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 57/129 on December 11, 2002. The date marks the anniversary of the creation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) in 1948. UNTSO was the first-ever UN peacekeeping mission created to monitor the ceasefire after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

In a world where conflict and violence continue to plague humanity, the importance of UN peacekeeping missions cannot be overstated. These missions provide a vital lifeline to those affected by conflict, and their presence helps to stabilise fragile regions. As we look into the future, it is clear that the need for UN peacekeeping missions will only continue to grow.

Today, places such as Gaza in Palestine and Ukraine are stark reminders of the devastating consequences of conflict.

Innocent civilians are caught in the crossfire, faced with unimaginable suffering and danger. The need for peacekeeping missions in these regions is urgent and critical. The international community must come together to support these efforts and provide the necessary resources and personnel to protect those in harm's way.

In Gaza, the ongoing conflict has resulted in countless civilian casualties, displacement and humanitarian crises. The presence of UN peacekeepers could help to alleviate the suffering by providing a buffer zone between conflicting parties and facilitating the delivery of aid to those in need.

In Ukraine, the ongoing conflict has resulted in significant human suffering, displacement and economic devastation. A UN peacekeeping mission could help to stabilise the region, facilitating a political solution and protecting civilians from the ongoing violence.

While we honour the sacrifices of peacekeepers, we must also acknowledge the challenges they face and work towards improving their conditions of service. Peacekeepers who serve on various missions around the world often face difficult and dangerous conditions with limited resources and support. They deserve better.

We must advocate improved living conditions, adequate equipment and comprehensive medical care for our peacekeepers. We must also ensure that they receive fair compensation and benefits for their service, and that their families are supported during their deployment. By prioritising the welfare of our peacekeepers, we can demonstrate our appreciation for their service and ensure that they can continue to serve with dignity and effectiveness.

We must celebrate the dedication and courage of the GAF and all those who have served on UN peacekeeping missions. Let us recognise the crucial role that they have played in keeping the peace, and let us work together towards a world where such missions are no longer needed.

However, until that day comes, we must continue to support and strengthen UN peacekeeping efforts, particularly in places such as Gaza and Ukraine, where the need is most urgent.

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