UN Envoy pays tribute to Ghana for its unwavering commitment to peace in Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia – UN top envoy in Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj has hailed Ghana's long-standing commitment to the restoration of peace and security in Liberia, describing it as “very special.” Awarding UN Peacekeeping Medal to Ghanaian peacekeepers at two separate ceremonies, the first in Monrovia and the second Buchanan, Ms. Løj paid glowing tribute to Ghana for its sacrifices and contributions towards the consolidation of peace in Liberia which has been forthcoming since ECOMOG in the 1990's. SRSG Løj stated that the Ghanaian dedication “has given Liberians the hope of experiencing the same peace that Ghanaians enjoy.”
In Buchanan, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) decorated a 700-strong Ghanaian contingent named the 'Scorpion' and expressed special appreciation for the troops stationed in LAC, who were working with the LNP to restore law and order in the plantation.“Your motto says 'Scorpions are fearless.' We truly appreciate your fearless dedication to consolidating peace in Liberia for the sake of the Liberian people, and for the region as a whole,” she told the Ghanaian soldiers, stationed in four of Liberia's 15 counties. Ms. Løj noted, with delight, the able manner in which the 56 females in the contingent, worked side by side with their male counterparts to augment the effectiveness of the contingent's performance, with some of them engaging in operational roles in frontline locations. SRSG Løj pointed out that this has “brought to the contingent the 'necessary gender balance' essential to the work of peacekeeping, and served as an inspiration for more Liberian women to join the security agencies.”
In Monrovia, SRSG Løj decorated 20 Ghanaian UN Police Contingent with UN Peacekeeping Medal, praising them for contributing to the efforts to build an effective security sector in Liberia. The Ghanaian advisors, made up of police, immigration and corrections officers, have been mentoring and building the capacity of their Liberian counterparts. Noting that although more needs to be done to ensure that the Liberian security system can stand on its own, the SRSG was confident that Ghana would continue to make available more advisors with technical skills to continue helping Liberia build a strong, self-standing security sector.
Touching on next year's presidential and parliamentary elections in Liberia, Ms. Løj urged Liberians to use the polls to demonstrate to other post conflict-affected countries that years of trauma can be overcome peacefully to build a democratic nation. “The successful conduct and conclusion of the 2011 elections provide Liberians with the opportunity to do that,” she said, stressing that “the determination of the international community to assist Liberia in this endeavour is steadfast.”
Dignitaries present at the two ceremonies included Deputy SRSG for Rule of Law, Mrs. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu; UNMIL Force Commander, Lieutenant General Sikander Afzal; Director of Mission Support, Mr. Hubert Price; UNMIL Deputy Force Commander, Major-General Carl Modey; and UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Gautam Sawang. Others were Ghana's Ambassador in Liberia, HE Kenneth Bosompem; visiting Chief of Ghana Naval Staff Rear Admiral Mathew Quarshie and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dr. Peter A. Wiredu and members of delegation; Liberian Immigration and Naturalization Commissioner, Mr. C. Clarence Massaquoi; Grand Bassa County Superintendent, Ms. Julia Duncan-Cassell; Liberia National Police Deputy Inspector-General/Administration, Mr. Samuel Dakina and other senior UNMIL and Liberian Government officials.