29 May 2014 The Security Council today extended the United Nations peacekeeping force in Abyei – an area contested by Sudan and South Sudan – as well as the missions assisting Guinea-Bissau and Somalia with their efforts to advance stability, security and development.
The 15-member body took that action in three separate resolutions, all of which were adopted by unanimous vote.
The mandate of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) was extended until 15 October 2014. The force, set up by the Council in June 2011 following an outbreak of violence after Sudanese troops took control of the oil-rich area in the weeks before South Sudan became independent, is tasked with overseeing the demilitarization of the area and maintaining security.
Among other measures, the Council reiterated its demand that Sudan and South Sudan immediately resume the work of the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee “to ensure steady progress” on the implementation of the June 2011 Agreement, which provides for temporary administrative arrangements for Abyei and the withdrawal of troops by both sides.
On Guinea-Bissau, the Council extended the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the country, known as UNIOGBIS, until 30 November 2014, so that it can continue to assist in tackling range of political, security and development challenges.
The West African nation recently concluded the second round of presidential elections, which are widely seen as essential to restoring constitutional order following the 2012 military coup, as well as to economic growth and development.
In its resolution, the Council reiterated its demand to the country’s defence services to submit themselves fully to civilian control, and condemned the violations and abuses of human rights. It also urged the authorities to take “all necessary measures” to protect human rights, put an end to impunity, initiate investigations to identify the perpetrators of such acts and bring them to justice.
As it extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), for another 12 months, the Council commended it on its first year of operation. Set up last June, the Mission is tasked with, among other things, providing UN ‘good offices’ functions to support peace and reconciliation; assisting the Government and the existing African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM with advice on peacebuilding and State building; and helping build capacity in human rights and the rule of law.
UN officials recently noted that the Horn of Africa nation is behind schedule on the development of a federal system, the constitutional review process and preparation for elections in 2016. The Council today called on the Federal Government to develop a “clear plan” towards the polls, including achieving key milestones such as a referendum on the constitution and the formation of interim state administrations.
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