Rwanda

Panellists at a roundtable discussion on peacekeeping and its challenges have called on participating countries in United Nations Peacekeeping missions to provide adequate orientations to their contingents to avoid embarrassments.

The orientations, they added would dissuade their officers and men from engaging in negative activities such as sexual acts with young girls, rape and abuse of power at the mission camps.

The discussion, which was part of activities to mark this year’s UN Peacekeepers’ day was addressed by Professor Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, a Law Professor, Professor Kenneth Attafuah, Criminologist and General Emmanuel Alexander Erskine on the theme: UN Peacekeepers: 70 years of Service and Sacrifice.

The rest were; Major General Henry Anyidoho, Colonel Rtd Festus Aboagye and Assistant Commissioner of Police Rtd Francis Aryee and moderated by Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso a Lecturer and Researcher.

The programme was attended by service commanders and officers from the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Prisons Service, members of the AU and UN days planning committees among others.

To achieve success at peacekeeping missions, General Erskine in a Teleconference presentation called on the leaderships of all UN participating countries to respect the cultures and religions of their host countries.

He said in situations, where peacekeepers attempt to impose alien cultures on their hosts could escalate into unimaginable heights as they would act in suppression, adding ‘respecting the cultures and religions could be the panacea to perfect peace making.”

Professor Kenneth Attafuah on his part called on participating countries, especially Ghana to ensure that all those selected for peacekeeping were personnel of great value and competence and not based on favouritism.

He explained that because some participating counties selected their officers based on biases and not competences, they ended up embarrassing the sending countries and themselves adding ‘a disgrace to one personnel is equally a disgrace to his or her country.’

Professor Mensa-Bonsu urged participating countries to name and shame and if possible repatriate personnel who misconduct themselves by indulging negative tendencies to deter others from replicating similar behaviours.

“The more sustainable way of ensuring successful peacekeeping is by protecting the citizens of host nations and by conducting yourselves professionally in your various vocations.”

Colonel Rtd Festus Aboagye in his contribution called for reviews of some the United Nations Peacekeeping mandates as most of the rules were now obsolete and therefore could no longer be applicable in modern-day peacekeeping on account of technological advancements.

He said peacekeeping was not the solution to indigenous problems, but a measure to encourage combatants against their acts and advised against the use of force and violence in conflict resolution.
ACP Rtd Francis Aryee in his contribution attributed most conflicts in the world to power sharing, wealth sharing and security adding that the uneven sharing had often led to crises and should therefore be given universal attention.

General Henry Anyidoho emphasised on good governance, which he said the recipe for perpetual peace and called on countries around the world to exhibit good governance to derive the maximum peace they desired.

Exhibitions on UN Peacekeeping activities were mounted for patrons.

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