18/09/2001
Press Release
SC/7146



Security Council

4374th Meeting* (PM)


SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 31 MARCH 2002,

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1370 (2001)


The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for six months starting 30 September 2001.


The Council took that action by unanimously adopting resolution 1370 (2001), as orally amended.  By that text it expressed deep concern at the reports of human rights abuses and attacks committed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and other armed groups and individuals, against the civilian population, in particular the widespread violation of the human rights of women and children.  The Council demanded that those acts cease immediately and asked the Secretary-General to ensure that all human rights monitoring positions within UNAMSIL are filled.


In particular, the Council urged the RUF to step up its efforts to fulfil its commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement.  Those include ensuring:  full liberty for the United Nations to deploy its troops throughout the country; the free movement of persons, goods and humanitarian assistance; unimpeded and safe movement of humanitarian agencies, refugees and displaced persons; and the immediate return of all seized weapons, ammunition and other equipment.


By other terms of the text the Council asked UNAMSIL to continue to support returning refugees and displaced persons and urged the RUF to cooperate to that end in fulfilment of Abuja commitments.


The resolution also emphasized the importance of a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme to long-term stability in Sierra Leone and urged the RUF, CDF and other groups to continue their commitment to, and active participation in, the programme.  Further, the Council expressed concern at the serious financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the programme, and urged international organizations and donor countries to generously and urgently support it.


The Council also emphasized the importance of free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections for the long-term stability of Sierra Leone and took note of the Mission's readiness to provide support, within its capabilities, to facilitate the smooth holding of elections.


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*     The 4373rd meeting was closed.

Resolution


The full text of resolution 1370 (2001) as orally revised, is as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its resolutions 1270 (1999) of 22 October 1999, 1289 (2000) of

7 February 2000, 1313 (2000) of 4 August 2000, 1317 (2000) of 5 September 2000, 1321 (2000) of 20 September 2000 and 1346 (2001) of 30 March 2001, and the statement of its President of 3 November 2000 (S/PRST/2000/31), and all other relevant resolutions and statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone,


Affirming the commitment of all States to respect the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Sierra Leone,


Expressing its concern at the fragile security situation in the Mano River countries, in particular the continued fighting in Liberia, and at the humanitarian consequences for the civilian, refugee and internally displaced populations in those areas,


Welcoming the progress made in the peace process aimed at achieving sustainable peace and security in Sierra Leone and commending the positive role of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in advancing the peace process,


Recognizing the importance of the progressive extension of State authority throughout the entire country, political dialogue and national reconciliation, the holding by the Government of Sierra Leone of free, fair and transparent elections, the transformation of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) into a political party, full respect for the human rights of all and the rule of law, effective action on the issues of impunity and accountability, the voluntary and unhindered return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the full implementation of a disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, the legitimate exploitation of the natural resources of Sierra Leone for the benefit of its people, and stressing that the United Nations should continue to support the fulfilment of these objectives,


Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 7 September 2001 (S/2001/857),


“1.   Decides that the mandate of UNAMSIL shall be extended for a period of six months from 30 September 2001;


“2.   Expresses its appreciation to those Member States providing troops and support elements to UNAMSIL and those who have made commitments to do so;


“3.   Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council at regular intervals on progress made by UNAMSIL in the implementation of key aspects of its concept of operations, and further requests him to provide an assessment in his next report on steps taken to improve the effectiveness of UNAMSIL;


“4.   Expresses its continued deep concern at the reports of human rights abuses and attacks committed by the RUF, the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and other armed groups and individuals, against the civilian population, in particular the widespread violation of the human rights of women and children, including sexual violence, demands that these acts cease immediately, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure that all human rights monitoring positions within UNAMSIL are filled in order to address the concerns raised in paragraphs 40 to 43 of the report of the Secretary-General;


“5.   Welcomes the efforts made by the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF towards full implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement signed in Abuja on

10 November 2000 (S/2000/1091) between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF and reaffirmed at the meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations, the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF at Abuja on 2 May 2001, and encourages them to continue those efforts;


“6.   In particular, urges the RUF to step up its efforts to fulfil its commitment under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement to ensure full liberty for the United Nations to deploy its troops throughout the country and also, with a view to restoring the authority of the Government of Sierra Leone throughout the country, to ensure the free movement of persons, goods and humanitarian assistance, unimpeded and safe movement of humanitarian agencies, refugees and displaced persons and the immediate return of all seized weapons, ammunition and other equipment;


“7.   Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF to continue to take steps towards furthering of dialogue and national reconciliation, and, in this regard, stresses the importance of the reintegration of the RUF into Sierra Leone society and the transformation of the RUF into a political party, and demands that the RUF cease any effort at maintaining options for military action;


“8.   Requests UNAMSIL to continue to support, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, returning refugees and displaced persons and urges the RUF to cooperate to this end in fulfilment of its commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement;


“9.   Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Council, further to his report of 23 May 2001 (S/2001/513), an update of his views on how to take forward the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons, including their return;


“10.  Urges Governments and regional leaders concerned to continue their full cooperation with ECOWAS and the United Nations to promote the efforts of all parties to the Sierra Leone conflict towards the full and peaceful implementation of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement, and to provide assistance to that end;


“11.  Encourages the ongoing efforts of ECOWAS towards a lasting and final settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union region, and underlines the importance of the continuing political and other support that the United Nations provides to these efforts in order to stabilize the region;


“12.  Welcomes the positive impact of progress made in the Sierra Leone peace process on the situation in the Mano River basin, including the recent Ministerial meetings of the Mano River Union and the prospects for a summit meeting of Mano River Union Presidents, and in this regard, encourages the efforts of the Mano River Union Women’s Peace Network towards regional peace;


“13.  Emphasizes the importance of a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme to long-term stability in Sierra Leone, welcomes the progress made in that process and urges the RUF, CDF and other groups to continue their commitment to, and active participation in, the programme;


“14.  Expresses concern at the serious financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and urges international organizations and donor countries to support generously and urgently the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone in this regard, as well as provide additional funds for the wide range of urgently needed post-conflict activities, including humanitarian and rehabilitation requirements;


“15.  Emphasizes the importance of free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections for the long-term stability of Sierra Leone and takes note of UNAMSIL’s readiness to provide support, within its capabilities, to facilitate the smooth holding of the elections;


“16.  Emphasizes that the development and extension of the administrative capacities of Sierra Leone are essential to sustainable peace and development in the country, and to the holding of free, fair and transparent elections, and therefore urges the Government of Sierra Leone, with the assistance of UNAMSIL, in accordance with its mandate, to accelerate and coordinate efforts to restore civil authority and basic public services throughout the country (including in the diamond mining areas), including by the deployment of key administrative officials and the Sierra Leone police and the progressive involvement of the Sierra Leone Army in providing border security against external forces, and encourages States, other international organizations and non-governmental organizations to provide appropriate assistance in this regard;


“17.  Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone, together with the Secretary-General, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant international actors, to expedite the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Special Court envisaged by resolution 1315 (2000) of 14 August 2000, bearing in mind in particular the need to ensure the appropriate protection of children, and urges donors urgently to commit funds for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and to disburse their financial pledges to the Trust Fund for the Special Court;


“18.  Welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to keep the security, political, humanitarian and human rights situation in Sierra Leone under close review and to report to the Council, after due consultations with troop-contributing countries, with any additional recommendations, including on how UNAMSIL will provide support to the Government of Sierra Leone in holding elections;


“19.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Report of Secretary-General


The Secretary-General, in a report to the Security Council, recommends that the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) be extended for a further period of six months (document S/2001/857 and Add.1).  The report was issued pursuant to Security Council resolution 1346 (2001) in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to report at regular intervals on progress made by UNAMSIL and to provide any additional recommendation, including if necessary, for a further strengthening of the military component of UNAMSIL.


According to the Secretary-General, UNAMSIL will seek to complete the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, continue to assist in the implementation of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement and support preparations for the forthcoming national elections.  After considering the report of the electoral needs assessment mission, which visited Sierra Leone in August, the Secretary-General will revert to the Security Council regarding additional resources needed to enable UNAMSIL to support the Government in the electoral process, including, if necessary, a temporary increase in the military strength of the mission.


Regarding political developments, the report states that the disarmament of combatants of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) has been completed in four districts, including the diamond-producing Kono district.  In general, the ceasefire has continued to hold.  The deployment of UNAMSIL now covers a considerable part of the country, thus making more areas accessible to humanitarian workers and the civilian population.  The Government has taken steps, albeit modest, to restore civil authority in some areas formerly controlled by the RUF.  The Government and the RUF have also taken additional reciprocal confidence-building measures, including the continuing release of abductees and child combatants by the RUF, the participation by both sides in joint sensitization and reconciliation campaigns and the renewal of the provisional registration of the RUF Party by the National Electoral Commission. The Secretary-General underlines the importance of assisting the RUF in transforming itself into a genuine political party and appeals to countries in the West African subregion, as well as donor countries, to extend technical and other appropriate assistance to the RUF. 


According to the report, however, the RUF has yet to return all the weapons and equipment seized from UNAMSIL and the Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG).


The Government has announced that parliamentary and presidential elections will now be held on 14 May 2002, according to the report.  The Secretary-General expresses his hope that all parties will accept the postponement.  The Government has requested the United Nations to provide technical and logistical assistance in support of the elections.  To enable UNAMSIL to carry out the tasks of providing security and logistical assistance for the elections, the force requirements are being further reviewed.  Any increase would be to add specialist support capabilities, including logistical assets, especially construction engineering to facilitate the access and deployment of UNAMSIL.


Meanwhile, the Government stated its intention to seek a further six-month extension of its term of office, as well as that of the Parliament.  This has prompted calls by opposition groups for the establishment of an interim government of national unity to lead the country to the next elections.


     The Secretary-General says that, since his last report, UNAMSIL troop strength has increased to 16,664.  At present, UNAMSIL patrols reach most of the rest of Sierra Leone.  Military observers, numbering some 242, have played a crucial role in the disarmament process by receiving, screening and processing the combatants, as well as developing the local disarmament arrangements with the faction commanders.  The observer teams have also contributed to the sensitization of combatants and the population on disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and reconciliation.  That process has made remarkable progress.  The National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation has so far provided reintegration assistance to 10,632 ex-combatants.


     A timetable for the progressive restoration of State authority to newly accessible districts is being developed, the report states.  The Government has set up a National Recovery Committee to better coordinate the extension of activities with all stakeholders and set priorities for humanitarian action and the rehabilitation of government infrastructure in newly accessible areas.  Meanwhile, UNAMSIL continues to encourage the Government to develop a comprehensive plan for the management of the diamond mines.


The improved security situation has allowed a gradual return of the displaced population and a revival of economic activity, especially in towns in areas where UNAMSIL has deployed, the report continues.  Faced with the influx of displaced populations returning to their areas of origin, UNAMSIL troops have often had to strain their own resources to meet some of the immediate needs of populations in their areas.  New resources are urgently required for the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support a renewed effort through short-term, quick impact projects that will assist in the restoration of civil authority, the reintegration of ex-combatants into society, the resettlement of war-affected population and the resumption of economic activities.


     The report says that UNAMSIL and an international organization have sponsored a study on the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Sierra Leone.  It is of grave concern that of the 733 randomly selected women interviewed during the research, 345 reported having been raped.  The participation of these women in the reconciliation process and their reintegration into their communities were some of the challenges to be addressed.


     In referring to child protection, the report states that child combatants, abductees and other separated children continued to be released to UNAMSIL by the RUF.  Of the 1,214 children released by the RUF and the 646 children demobilized by the Civil Defence Forces, 8 per cent are girls.  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the child protection agencies have developed a special information programme for the release of girls and women.  All released children and demobilized child combatants enter UNICEF-supported child protection programmes, which provide emergency interim care, family tracing and reunification and also community-based reintegration.


     Regarding the Special Court envisaged by resolution 1315(2000), the report states that the Secretariat sent letters on 23 July 2001 to the countries that had made pledges for the first year of operation of the Special Court and requested that they deposit their contributions with the United Nations in 30 days.  Of a total amount pledged of $15.5 million, only one third had been received by the end of the 30-day period.  When sufficient funds were received, the Secretariat will dispatch a planning mission to Sierra Leone to discuss with the Government the practical arrangements for the establishment of the Special Court.


The report states that an estimated 200,000 Sierra Leonean refugees remain in asylum countries in the subregion.  At the same time, close to 6,000 refugees from Guinea and Liberia have made their way overland through the RUF controlled

areas into Sierra Leone.  A total of 6,000 additional spontaneous refugees have crossed into Sierra Leone from Guinea during August.  Meanwhile, more than

80 per cent of registered returnees have become internally displaced and have been accommodated in temporary settlements.  New influxes of Liberian refugees, estimated in the thousands, have continued.  Despite increased access and a higher demand for assistance, the Sierra Leone consolidated appeal for 2001 remains underfunded.


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