The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Ms Hannah Tetteh has hailed members of the Ghanaian Peacekeeping force for their impressive performance in maintaining global peace and security.
She said the Ghana Armed Forces and other security agencies that have participated in peacekeeping and peace support operations have been known to maintain the highest standards of performance and excellence.
“We want to encourage them to continue to do just that,” Ms Tetteh stated on Wednesday, in Accra at a Flag Raising Ceremony to mark the 53rd Africa Union (AU) Day.
The event, which was on the theme: “Human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women”, was attended by members of the African Diplomatic Community in Ghana, Members of the Council of State, government officials and retired diplomats.
The ceremony was held indoors at the premises of the State House due to threats of rainfall.
The Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity, which was transformed in 2002 to the AU.
Africa Day is being marked as a national holiday in six African countries: Ghana, Mali, Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Ms Tetteh said it is unfortunate that it has come to the attention of the various member states that some of their officers on peacekeeping activities have not behaved in a manner in which they are expected to the treatment of females.
“If there is any country whose forces would be associated with any misconduct, especially as relates to the treatment of girls and women in countries where there are peacekeeping operations, they should not be the security forces of Ghana under any circumstances,” she said.
“In Ghana achieving gender equality and women rights are regarded as an important aspect of our human rights principles and a prerequisite for sustainable development,” she added.
She said Ghana’s constitution guarantees gender equality and freedom of men and women, girls and boys, from discrimination on the basis of social or economic status and gender.
“The results of Ghana’s efforts are evident in our recent achievements in performance in the international ratings such as the Human Development Index and the Gender Inequality Index.
“But even though we have made some progress, it is important for us to admit that there is a lot more progress that is yet to be made,” she stated.
She recounted that at the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the AU in 2013, African leaders took stock of the past and decided to chart a path for the Union over the 50 years.
“The path envisage was in consistence with the Pan-African vision, which is an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.
“Subsequently they adopted sound declaration, which set out priority areas for the development of Africa over a 50 horizon, which culminated in what we now refer to as agenda 2063.”
Agenda 2063 is premised on seven main aspirations, mainly and prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
An integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance.
An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law; a peaceful and secure Africa and an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics.
It also seeks an Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth and caring for children and an Africa as strong, united and influential global player and partner.
Mrs Pavelyn Tendai Musaka, the Zimbabwean High Commissioner to Ghana and the Dean of the African Diplomatic corps hailed the AU for the choice of the theme for this year’s Africa Day, which sought to empower women.
She said Africa is blessed with abundant natural resources and when properly explored would transform the continent into a major donor as opposed to the continent’s being a donor recipient.
Mrs Muska lauded Ghana for granting visa free entry to African tourists, starting from July this year.
She urged other African countries to emulate Ghana’s shining example. GNA