|Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana, yesterday described Ghana as a shining example in the Sub-Region, and a global example of a country, which firmly upheld the principle that Peace, Security and Development, must go together.
Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana
"Ghana's democratic history of peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections, have paved the way for a bright future of sustainable human development, which could benefit all Ghanaians."
Ms Sandhu-Rojon made the observation in a message read on behalf of Mr Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General, at a flag raising and wreath laying ceremony, at the forecourt of the State House in Accra, to commemorate International Day of United Nations (UN) Peace-Keepers.
The theme of this year's commemoration in Ghana is ‘Peace Keeping as a Global Partnership: The Role of Ghana’.
"Examples in other countries abound, where the loss of peace have destroyed years of hard-won development gains," she said, adding that Ghana's tradition in preserving the "Inextricable link between peace and development" had to be treasured.
"Let us call on all stakeholders to do their utmost to keep the peace in the up-coming elections."
Ms Sandhu-Rojon said "Today, we commend Ghana for her remarkable commitment to international peace and stability, by supporting other UN Member States that are submerged in conflict."
The UN Resident Coordinator said Ghana had recently been ranked among the 10 largest contributors of personnel towards UN peacekeeping operations.
"Over the last 60 years, Ghanaian peacekeepers have participated in more than 30 UN peace-keeping missions in Africa, the Middle East, the Balkans and Asia," she said.
Ms Sandhu-Rojon said Ghanaian peacekeepers had supported the lives of millions of people in post-conflict reconstruction, disarmament of combatants and restoring public order.
"I salute these brave men and women who have risked their lives in service to those most in need around the world," she said.
Lt. Gen Joseph Henry Smith, Minister for Defence, said Ghana's commitment to UN peace-keeping dated as far back as the 1960s, when Ghana was one of the first countries to deploy troops to the then Congo.
"Our constitution re-enforces Ghana's commitment to peace-keeping worldwide. We see our peace-keeping duties as an obligation," he added.
The Minister for Defence said Ghanaians had served in over 30 peace-keeping missions globally saying, "We salute the likes of Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General who played key roles in peace-keeping all over the world."
Lt. Gen. Smith said presently, Ghana had 341 police, 57 military experts and over 2,500 troops, serving in UN missions all over the world.
"We have suffered 130 deaths, during peace-keeping missions. May the souls of these fallen heroes rest in peace. On behalf of the Government, I convey condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those who have died and been maimed. They have died for a worthy cause, for which they would always be remembered."
He called on Ghanaians to guard against acts and utterances that could destabilise the prevailing peace in the country.
"Let us prove to the world that it is possible to weather the storm of political discourse and still have credible and successful elections," he said.
After sounding of the last post and a minute's silence for the fallen heroes, five wreaths were laid to commemorate the occasion.
The first was laid by Lt. Gen. Smith, the second by Ms Sandhu-Rojon on behalf of the UN and the UN Secretary General.
The third was laid by Rear Admiral Mathew Quarshie, Acting Chief of Defence Staff, on behalf of officers, men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces and the fourth by Mr Mohamed Alhassan, Deputy IGP, on behalf of the Ghana Police Service and other security services.
The fifth wreath was laid by Mrs Rejoice Nunoo, wife of the late Sergeant Robert Arthur, who died in 2000 while serving with UNAMSIL.
A guard of honour, made up of 75 men and three officers, drawn from the Ghana Navy and Ghana Police Service, under the Command of Lt. Commander Roger Bagonia was mounted with the Ghana Navy Band in attendance.
On December 11, 2002, the UN General Assembly designated May 29, as International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
The Day was first observed on May 29, 2003.