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Switzerland spearheads two-week Protection of Civilians course at KAIPTC

Switzerland has launched a two-week course on Protection of Civilians (POC) for West African personnel at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC).

Switzerland spearheads two-week Protection of Civilians course at KAIPTC

The event was successfully launched on Monday, October 11, 2021, and was officially opened by the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana, Philipp Stalder.

Personnel from six West African countries as well as a number of Swiss military officers will benefit from the two-week training at the Center.

These include police and military personnel from Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Benin and Mali.

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The course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, presentations, interactive discussions, and scenario-based exercises on various aspects of protection of civilians.

As part of the training, participating officers will be required to discuss, analyse and apply the knowledge they have acquired to proffer solutions.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Swiss Ambassador to Ghana said Switzerland is proud to cooperate with KAIPTC in organising such training.

He noted that the country will continue to actively participate in supporting the efforts of the international community towards peacekeeping operations.

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“Switzerland attaches great importance to the protection of civilians,” Mr. Stalder said, insisting “the objective of this course goes right to the heart of the mandate of international peacekeeping missions and the nature of modern conflict."

He underscored the importance of regular courses on the protection of civilians, saying actors involved in peacekeeping operations are often not adequately prepared or trained to deal with the daunting task of protecting civilians.

“I hope that this course will provide you with the needed capacity to effectively implement the protection of civilian mandate in peacekeeping operations at the operational level, and contribute to mitigate the disastrous effects of conflicts on civilians,” Mr. Stalder added.

The Swiss Ambassador further expressed his delight that a third of the participants in the course are females.

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Commandant of the KAIPTC, Major General Francis Ofori also admonished the participating officers to be actively involved in the training.

“I, therefore, urge you to take advantage of the unique opportunity of this course to get to know each other better, especially your facilitators and to nurture it to your mutual benefits,” he said.

Major General Ofori was, however, quick to add that mere registering does not qualify an officer to a certificate.

He warned that the qualifying criteria includes meaningful participation and that those who abandon the course midway are not entitled to get a certificate.

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He thanked the Swiss government for funding courses at the KAIPTC over the years and called on all participants to adhere to strict COVID-19 safety protocols as they undertake the training.

Also present at the opening of the two-week course on Protection of Civilians were the Director of Training, Colonel Paul Tanye-Kulono and Course Director, Lieutenant Colonel Marc Wettstein.

Since 2006, Switzerland has contributed to peace and security with its support for the KAIPTC and in particular, by regularly organizing courses for military and police personnel across the sub-region.

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