SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION’S MANDATE FOR SIX MONTHS, INCREASES TROOP STRENGTH TO 17,500

30 March 2001
SC/7041

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION’S MANDATE FOR SIX MONTHS, INCREASES TROOP STRENGTH TO 17,500

30/03/2001
Press ReleaseSC/7041

Security Council

4306th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS SIERRA LEONE MISSION’S MANDATE FOR SIX MONTHS,

INCREASES TROOP STRENGTH TO 17,500

Resolution 1346 (2001) Adopted Unanimously

The Security Council this afternoon extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for six months and increased its military component to a strength of 17,500, including the 260 military observers already deployed.

By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1346 (2001), the Council also demanded that the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and other military groups immediately cease their reported abuses of human rights, particularly the harassment and forced recruitment of adults and children for fighting and forced labour.  It requested the Secretary-General to ensure that all human rights monitoring positions in UNAMSIL were filled.

Expressing its deep concern that the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement, signed by the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF in November 2000, had not been fully implemented, the Council demanded that the RUF fulfil its commitments to ensure full liberty for United Nations deployment of its troops throughout the country; the free movement of persons and goods; unimpeded movement of humanitarian agencies, refugees and displaced persons; and the immediate return of all seized weapons, ammunition and other equipment. 

The Council called upon all parties to the Sierra Leone conflict to intensify their efforts towards the full and peaceful implementation of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement and the resumption of the peace process.  It also urged continued cooperation by governments and regional leaders with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations to promote those efforts.

Encouraging ECOWAS efforts towards a lasting and final settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union caused by continued fighting in the border areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the Council underlined the importance of the political support the United Nations could provide to those efforts in order to stabilize the region.

This afternoon's meeting began at 12.52 p.m. and adjourned at 12.54 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of the resolution, to be issued as S/RES/1346 (2001), reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and the 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 continued concern at the fragile security situation in Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries, and in particular at the continued fighting on the border regions of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and at the grave humanitarian consequences for the civilian, refugee and internally displaced populations in those areas,

Recognizing the importance of the progressive extension of State authority throughout the entire country, political dialogue and national reconciliation, 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, 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 holding by the Government of Sierra Leone of free, fair and transparent elections, and the formulation of a long-term plan for the peace process in order to achieve sustainable peace and security in Sierra Leone, and stressing that the United Nations should continue to support the fulfilment of these objectives,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 14 March 2001 (S/2001/228),

“1.   Decides that the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), established in its resolutions 1270 (1999) of 22 October 1999 and 1289 (2000) of 7 February 2000, shall be extended for a period of six months from the date of the adoption of this resolution;

“2.   Further decides to increase the military component of UNAMSIL to a strength of 17,500, including the 260 military observers already deployed, as recommended by the Secretary-General in paragraphs 99 and 100 of his report;

“3.   Welcomes the revised concept of operations for UNAMSIL as set out in paragraphs 57 to 67 of the report of the Secretary-General and the progress already made towards its implementation, and encourages the Secretary-General to proceed to its completion;

“4.   Expresses its appreciation to those Member States providing additional troops and support elements to UNAMSIL and those who have made commitments to do so, encourages the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to seek, if necessary, further properly trained and equipped forces to strengthen the military components of UNAMSIL in order to enable the mission to implement fully its revised concept of operations, and requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council upon receipt of firm commitments to that end;

“5.   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;

“6.   Expresses its deep concern at the reports of human rights abuses committed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and others, including other military groups, against the civilian population, in particular the harassment and forced recruitment of adults and children for fighting and forced labour, demands that these acts cease immediately, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure all human rights monitoring positions within UNAMSIL are filled in order to address the concerns raised in paragraphs 44 to 51 of the report of the Secretary-General;

“7.   Expresses also its deep concern that the Ceasefire Agreement signed in Abuja on 10 November 2000 (S/2000/1091) between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF has not been fully implemented, and demands that the RUF take immediate steps to fulfil itscommitments under that Agreement to ensure full liberty for the United Nations to deploy its troops throughout the country, the free movement of persons and goods, unimpeded movement of humanitarian agencies, refugees and displaced persons and the immediate return of all seized weapons, ammunition and other equipment, and to recommence active participation in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme;

“8.   Requests, in this respect, UNAMSILto maintain its support, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, for returning refugees and displaced persons and to encourage the RUF to cooperate to this end in fulfilment of its commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement;

“9.   Requests the Secretary-General to submit to the Council his views on how to take forward the issue of refugees and internally displaced persons, including their return;

“10.  Calls upon all the parties to the Sierra Leone conflict to intensify their efforts towards the full and peaceful implementation of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement and the resumption of the peace process, taking into account the basis of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement and relevant Security Council resolutions, and urges Governments and regional leaders concerned to continue their full cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United Nations to promote these efforts, and, in particular, to use their influence with the leaders of the RUF to obtain their cooperation towards achievement of the above-mentioned goals;

“11.  Encourages the efforts of ECOWAS towards a lasting and final settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union region caused by the continued fighting in the border areas of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and underlines the importance of the political support that the United Nations can provide to these efforts in order to stabilise the region;

“12.  Takes note of the responsibilities to be undertaken by UNAMSIL in support of the Government of Sierra Leone’s disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, notably the decision to provide an enhanced management role as referred to in paragraphs 76 to 79 of the report of the Secretary-General, commends the Government of Sierra Leone for the improvements it has already brought about in the programme, encourages it to take the necessary urgent decisions to allow finalization of the programme and dissemination of information on its benefits and conditions to proceed expeditiously, and also encourages international organizations and donor countries to support generously the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone in this regard;

“13.  Emphasizes that the development and extension of the administrative capacities of Sierra Leone are also essential to sustainable peace and development in the country, and therefore urges the Government of Sierra Leone to take the necessary practical steps to prepare for and bring about the restoration of civil authority and basic public services throughout its territory, including in the locations where UNAMSIL is expected to deploy in accordance with its concept of operations, and encourages States, other international organizations and non-governmental organizations to provide appropriate assistance in this regard;

“14.  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;

“15.  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, if necessary, for a further strengthening of the military component of UNAMSIL for the completion of the planned concept of operations to fulfil the overall objective of assisting the Government of Sierra Leone to re-establish its authority throughout the country, including the diamond-producing areas, and to create the necessary conditions for the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections in due course under the authority of the Government of Sierra Leone;

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

Background

On 22 October 1999, the Council established UNAMSIL to cooperate with the Government and the other parties in implementing the Lomé Peace Agreement, signed by all parties to the conflict, including the Government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which had been in rebellion since 1991.  On 7 February 2000, the Council revised UNAMSIL's mandate.  It also expanded its size, as it did once again on 19 May 2000.

Before the Council when it met today was the ninth report on UNAMSIL (document S/2001/228), the Secretary-General recommends that the Mission's strength be increased and its current mandate extended until 30 September.  The two-track approach, endorsed by the Council, states the report, continues to offer

the best chances of achieving a durable peace through a combination of a strong military deterrent and a political dialogue between the parties to the Abuja Agreement, a ceasefire signed by the Government and the RUF on 10 November 2000.

Several countries, he notes, were giving serious consideration to providing additional troops and equipment to UNAMSIL, and he is hopeful that a significant number of military personnel can be deployed within the next six months.  Such a deployment would bring the strength of UNAMSIL to a level of 17,500 troops. 

He emphasizes, however, that durable peace and stability in Sierra Leone cannot be achieved solely through the presence of a peacekeeping force.  All concerned were urged to make full use of the security and stability prevailing in UNAMSIL-deployed areas and to fully restore State administration and public services in those areas, as well as to be prepared to extend government authority to the locations where UNAMSIL was expected to be deployed soon. 

While important headway has been made in the management and operations of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, there is still room for improvement, particularly regarding the implementation of reintegration programmes for ex-combatants.  While important, the programme could not be separated from the larger political context and the two-track approach adopted by the international community.  Thus, it was important for all involved to formulate more clearly their approaches to the peace process, including a clearer picture of the possible future status of members of armed groups, as well as the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and of the planned Special Court. 

The continuing reluctance of the RUF to disarm and to allow the Government to extend its authority to areas held by the rebels “leaves serious doubts about their intentions”.  Remaining key objectives of the peace process in Sierra Leone are to end the RUF rebellion, to extend the legitimate authority throughout the country, to disarm and demobilize combatants, and to allow the rebels to pursue political objectives in a democratic process.  The current cessation of hostilities provided a unique opportunity for all parties to pursue confidence-building measures and restore dialogue.  In that regard, the RUF's decision to establish a political body in Freetown was a step in the right direction. 

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For information media. Not an official record.