Almost 700 Ghanaian peacekeepers serving under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have been awarded UN Medals in recognition and appreciation of their service in South Sudan.
Among them are 57 female peacekeepers.
UNMISS Force Commander General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi awarded the medals to the Ghanaian officers in Bentiu, Unity region, during a colourful ceremony.
Speaking at the ceremony, General Kamanzi thanked the peacekeepers for their commitment to serve and protect the people of South Sudan.
“These medals signify the recognition and appreciation of the United Nations for your eminent contribution toward the peace process in the Republic of South Sudan,” said General Kamanzi.
“Over the past ten months, Ghanbatt troops have displayed true professionalism and dedication while performing their assigned tasks here in Bentiu.”
Bawa Seidu Salamatu, a female peacekeeper serving with UNMISS said she was very committed to “work for peace and to ensure that peace returns to South Sudan so that people can go back to rebuild their lives”.
“As a peacekeeper, it is my desire to ensure peace, by working hard so that people caught up in this conflict, especially women and children, will have a normal life and go about their daily routine,” she added.
General Kamanzi reiterated the UN Secretary General, António Guterres’ zero tolerance policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, warning that peacekeepers who do not respect the policy will face consequences.
“Sexual exploitation and respect for the people we are charged to protect and serve is an important issue. The Mission will not hesitate to take all necessary measures against those who do not abide by the policy,” he said.
The 700 Ghanaian peacekeepers are currently protecting more than 100,000 internally displaced people sheltering at the UN Protection of Civilians site near the UN base in Bentiu.