The Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul has warned Ghanaian soldiers on United Nations peacekeeping mission not to engage in any sexual activities.
He said violating this directive amounts to misconduct, and one risks being sacked from the army if he/she goes contrary to the directive.
Addressing some soldiers during a one-day visit to the Brong Ahafo region, he said it is against the rules of the UN for soldiers on peace missions to engage in sexual relations with citizens they have been engaged to protect.
Mr Nitiwul also noted that such an act damages the image of the country.
“The UN frowned upon sexual exploitation and abuse…you cannot have sexual relations with the people who you are going you are going to help make peace.”
“Neither can you have sexual relationship among yourselves so you have to be like a Catholic priest when you get there…for Catholic priests, if you are a man you don’t know woman and if you are a woman you don’t know a man,” he advised.
The UN has a zero-tolerance policy with respect to sexual exploitation and abuse.
This includes any sexual activity with minors or any actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions; any actual or attempted abuse of position of vulnerability, differential power or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.
This includes acts of transactional sex, solicitation of transactional sex, and exploitative relationships. In addition, military and police personnel in most of our missions have non-fraternization policies making relations with beneficiaries of assistance a breach of the standards of conduct.
The Defence Minister explained that it is because of such sacrifices that soldiers on such missions are given $700 as leave allowance.
“In fact, you cannot just lose your rank but you can be sacked from the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) if you indulge in such misbehaviour,” Mr Nitiwul warned.
The Member of Parliament for Bimbilla said those who cannot control their sexual desires can return to Ghana and do whatever they want to do and go back to their base.
“But once you are there, never attempt it,” he said adding if a member of a battalion is arrested, “it will have a repercussion on you and other members of your battalion.”