By Iddi Yire
Accra, Sept 24, GNA – Dr Edward Ampratwum, Head of Governance and Peacebuilding Cluster, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ghana, on Friday urged Ghanaian market women, commercial drivers and artisans to exercise peace and tolerance in their daily activities.
He said tolerance for pluralism was an essential component of the culture of peace and for building sustainable and resilient societies.
“I wish to remind all and sundry that it behoves us to collectively promote positive social relations for a peaceful society,” Dr Ampratwum stated in his keynote address at a Community Engagement on peaceful coexistence in Accra.
The workshop, which was organised by the National Peace Council (NPC) in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) in Ghana on the theme: “Managing Ethnic Diversity in Ghana for Sustainable Peace,” was attended by market women, commercial drivers and artisans.
It forms part of activities marking the week-long celebration of the 2022 International Peace Day on the theme: “End Racism. Build Peace”.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the UN General Assembly to commemorate and strengthen the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
Dr Ampratwum said discriminatory attitudes and behaviours were learned and not a characteristic of human beings; declaring that “therefore, it is imperative that as early as possible, and most importantly in the home environment and continued in the school environment, children learn the value of diversity and respect for and appreciation of difference”.
He said Ghana had rightly been described as the oasis of peace in Africa, and this was something that was not achieved on a silver platter but under its strong national institutions and commitment to peace and democratic values, they were optimistic that Ghana would continue to be peaceful for development to thrive.
He said the theme for this year’s International Peace Day celebration was very important to remind all of us of the need to acknowledge our differences but respect our common humanity.
He reiterated that millions of people continue to be the victims of varied forms of racism, racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and related intolerance, adding that these threats to human existence were not only persisting, but are continually assuming new forms.
He said the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) committed all State parties to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination and to promote understanding amongst all races.
Dr Ampratwum appealed to all market women to eliminate all forms of racial discriminations at the market place, saying the “market is a space of cultural expression”.
Mrs Joana Adzoa Opare, NPC Governing Board Member, said according to reports from Small Arms Commission, there were still thousands of arms illegally acquired by Ghanaians that were being used for all kinds of criminal activities.
“We would like to use this occasion to call for a relook at Ghana’s arms acquisition, utilization, and monitoring regime to ensure the peace and security of our country,” she said.
Mr George Amoh, the Executive Secretary of the NPC, who led the opened forum discussion, said the Council was seeking to harness Ghana’s existing inter-ethnic and inter-religious ties and to promote tolerance, unity and a more inclusive society.
He said the advocacy and public sensitisation programme being organised by the NPC also sought to build a strong relation between the Council and the market women, commercial drivers, as well as artisans.
Mr Kofi Afful, Welfare Chairman of the Tema Station Branch of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) reiterated that for there to be peace in the society, there must also be justice and expressed his concern over the arbitrary arrest of some of their members by the Police.
Madam Mercy Naa Afrowa Needjan, President of the Greater Accra Region Market Women Association, appealed to her colleagues to ensure that there was sustainable peace in all markets within the Region.