PRESS RELEASE: Republic of Ghana Vice-President H.E. Mahamudu Bawumia addresses the UN Security Council as Ghana is elected as a non-permanent member.

Marking Ghana’s election to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member, Ghanaian Vice-President H.E. Mahamudu Bawumia spoke at the UN headquarters in New York City, addressing the protection of civilian populations in urban warfare.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice-President Bawumia, representing Ghana and H.E. President Nana Akufo-Addo, subsequently met with UN Secretary General António Guterres to further discuss the issue.

The Vice-President emphasised the disproportional toll wars exact on urban populations which threatens to exacerbate existing issues such as sexual exploitation and the radicalisation of younger people. Reiterating increasing global urbanisation trends, the Vice-President’s statement welcomed the opportunity to discuss the pressing matter.

‘Much of the conflict we experience globally and in the continent of Africa continues to involve civilian combatants and often results in the scapegoating of the civilian populations’ asserted the Vice-President.

In tackling the issue, Bawumia highlighted four key points for the consideration of the Council.

Prioritising the integration of the civilian protection in the planning and conduct of military operations will help to enhance global norms and standards on civilian protection in urban conflicts the Vice-President said in his statement. Moreover, Bawumia reiterated that stronger global enforcement mechanisms are required to tackle the matter, with States being required to recommit to international humanitarian law in their conduct of warfare.

Alongside these points, the Vice-President additionally called for a renewed effort in assessing and developing the resilience of existing urban infrastructure to cope with wars, prioritising evacuation efforts of civilians and developing shelter zones. Furthermore, Bawumia explained that the use of explosives in war should be controlled alongside management of highly-populated civilian areas.

‘We must recognise that in developing norms and standards to protect civilian populations during conflict, there is strong need for local engagement in order to assure the acceptance of such norms’ the Vice-President explained.

For Ghana, the issue of poverty alleviation needs to be addressed firmly via national initiatives aiming to ‘equalise access to economic opportunities in all parts of a country’ so as to mitigate the intensification of such conflicts frequently catalysed by regional inequality.



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