SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES 15,000-STRONG STABILIZATION FORCE FOR LIBERIA TO ASSIST PEACE PROCESS

19 September 2003
SC/7878

SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES 15,000-STRONG STABILIZATION FORCE FOR LIBERIA TO ASSIST PEACE PROCESS

19/09/2003
Press ReleaseSC/7878

Security Council

4830th Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES 15,000-STRONG STABILIZATION FORCE

FOR LIBERIA TO ASSIST PEACE PROCESS

Resolution 1509 (2003) Adopted Unanimously;

August Peace Agreement Aims at National Elections by End of 2005

The Security Council this morning established a stabilization force for Liberia of up to 15,000 troops to assist in implementing a ceasefire and peace agreement, which was signed in August and aims at national elections by the end of 2005.

Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 1509 (2003), the Council, welcoming the 11 August resignation of President Charles Taylor and the peaceful transfer of power in the country, determined that the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will also consist of up to 1,115 police officers, along with a civilian component.  It requested the Secretary-General to transfer authority to UNMIL on 1 October from forces led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which it commended for its rapid and professional deployment.

According to the resolution, the mandate of UNMIL, which was established for a period of 12 months, in addition to support for the ceasefire and the peace process, will include protection of United Nations staff and civilians, as well as support for humanitarian and human rights initiatives.  Assistance for national police training and formation of a new, restructured military is also mandated.

In establishing UNMIL, the Council, in addition, called on all parties to pay special attention to gender issues and the protection of children.  In particular, it called on all parties to cease all use of child soldiers.

[For background information on the situation in Liberia and the rationale for UNMIL, please see Press Release SC/7874 of 16 September 2003.]

This morning’s meeting began at 10:49 a.m. and adjourned at 10:52 a.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 1509 (2003) reads, as follows:

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous resolutions and statements by its President on Liberia, including its resolution 1497 (2003) of 1 August 2003, and the 27 August 2003 Statement by its President (S/PRST/2003/14), and other relevant resolutions and statements,

Expressing its utmost concern at the dire consequences of the prolonged conflict for the civilian population throughout Liberia, in particular the increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons,

Stressing the urgent need for substantial humanitarian assistance to the Liberian population,

Deploring all violations of human rights, particularly atrocities against civilian populations, including widespread sexual violence against women and children,

Expressing also its deep concern at the limited access of humanitarian workers to populations in need, including refugees and internally displaced persons, and stressing the need for the continued operation of United Nations and other agencies’ relief operations, as well as promotion and monitoring of human rights,

Emphasizing the need for all parties to safeguard the welfare and security of humanitarian workers and United Nations personnel in accordance with applicable rules and principles of international law, and recalling in this regard its resolution 1502 (2003),

Mindful of the need for accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and urging the transitional government once established to ensure that the protection of human rights and the establishment of a State based on the rule of law and of an independent judiciary are among its highest priorities,

Reiterating its support for the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), particularly organization Chairman and President of Ghana John Kufuor, Executive Secretary Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and mediator General Abdulsalami Abubakar, as well as those of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, to bring peace to Liberia, and recognizing the critically important role they continue to play in the Liberia peace process,

Welcoming the continued support of the African Union (AU) for the leadership role of ECOWAS in the peace process in Liberia, in particular the appointment of an AU Special Envoy for Liberia, and further encouraging the AU to continue to support the peace process through close collaboration and coordination with ECOWAS and the United Nations,

Commending the rapid and professional deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL) forces to Liberia, pursuant to its resolution 1497 (2003), as well as Member States which have assisted ECOWAS in its efforts, and stressing the responsibilities of all parties to cooperate with ECOMIL forces in Liberia,

Noting that lasting stability in Liberia will depend on peace in the subregion, and emphasizing the importance of cooperation among the countries of the subregion to this end, as well as the need for coordination of United Nations efforts to contribute to the consolidation of peace and security in the subregion,

Gravely concerned by the use of child soldiers by armed rebel militias, government forces, and other militias,

Reaffirming its support, as stated in its Statement by its President on 27 August 2003 (S/PRST/2003/14), for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement reached by Liberia’s Government, rebel groups, political parties, and civil society leaders in Accra, Ghana on 18 August 2003, and the Liberian ceasefire agreement, signed in Accra, 17 June 2003,

Reaffirming that the primary responsibility for implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the ceasefire agreement rests with the parties, and urging the parties to move forward with implementation of these agreements immediately in order to ensure the peaceful formation of a transitional government by 14 October 2003,

Welcoming the 11 August 2003 resignation and departure of former Liberian President Charles Taylor from Liberia, and the peaceful transfer of power from Mr. Taylor,

Stressing the importance of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), as provided for by the 17 June ceasefire agreement, to ensuring peace in Liberia, and urging all parties to establish this body as quickly as possible,

Recalling the framework for establishment of a longer-term United Nations stabilization force to relieve the ECOMIL forces, as set out in resolution 1497 (2003),

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s report of 11 September 2003 (S/2003/875) and its recommendations,

Taking note also of the intention of the Secretary-General to terminate the mandate of the United Nations Office in Liberia (UNOL), as indicated in his letter dated 16 September 2003 addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2003/899),

Taking note also of the intention of the Secretary-General to transfer the major functions performed by UNOL to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), together with staff of UNOL, as appropriate,

Determining that the situation in Liberia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region, to stability in the West Africa subregion, and to the peace process for Liberia,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.   Decides to establish the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the stabilization force called for in resolution 1497 (2003), for a period of

12 months, and requests the Secretary-General to transfer authority from the ECOWAS-led ECOMIL forces to UNMIL on 1 October 2003, and further decides that UNMIL will consist of up to 15,000 United Nations military personnel, including up to 250 military observers and 160 staff officers, and up to 1,115 civilian police officers, including formed units to assist in the maintenance of law and order throughout Liberia, and the appropriate civilian component;

“2.   Welcomes the appointment by the Secretary-General of his Special Representative for Liberia to direct the operations of UNMIL and coordinate all United Nations activities in Liberia;

“3.   Decides that UNMIL shall have the following mandate:

Support for Implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement:

(a)   to observe and monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and investigate violations of the ceasefire;

(b)   to establish and maintain continuous liaison with the field headquarters of all the parties’ military forces;

(c)   to assist in the development of cantonment sites and to provide security at these sites;

(d)   to observe and monitor disengagement and cantonment of military forces of all the parties;

(e)   to support the work of the JMC;

(f)   to develop, as soon as possible, preferably within 30 days of the adoption of this resolution, in cooperation with the JMC, relevant international financial institutions, international development organizations, and donor nations, an action plan for the overall implementation of a disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, and repatriation (DDRR) programme for all armed parties; with particular attention to the special needs of child combatants and women; and addressing the inclusion of non-Liberian combatants;

(g)   to carry out voluntary disarmament and to collect and destroy weapons and ammunition as part of an organized DDRR programme;

(h)   to liase with the JMC and to advise on the implementation of its functions under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the ceasefire agreement;

(i)   to provide security at key government installations, in particular ports, airports, and other vital infrastructure;

Protection of United Nations Staff, Facilities and Civilians:

(j)   to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel and, without prejudice to the efforts of the government, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, within its capabilities;

Support for Humanitarian and Human Rights Assistance:

(k)   to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance, including by helping to establish the necessary security conditions;

(l)   to contribute towards international efforts to protect and promote human rights in Liberia, with particular attention to vulnerable groups including refugees, returning refugees and internally displaced persons, women, children, and demobilized child soldiers, within UNMIL’s capabilities and under acceptable security conditions, in close cooperation with other United Nations agencies, related organizations, governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations;

(m)   to ensure an adequate human rights presence, capacity and expertise within UNMIL to carry out human rights promotion, protection, and monitoring activities;

Support for Security Reform:

(n)   to assist the transitional government of Liberia in monitoring and restructuring the police force of Liberia, consistent with democratic policing, to develop a civilian police training programme, and to otherwise assist in the training of civilian police, in cooperation with ECOWAS, international organizations, and interested States;

(o)   to assist the transitional government in the formation of a new and restructured Liberian military in cooperation with ECOWAS, international organizations and interested States;

Support for Implementation of the Peace Process:

(p)   to assist the transitional Government, in conjunction with ECOWAS and other international partners, in reestablishment of national authority throughout the country, including the establishment of a functioning administrative structure at both the national and local levels;

(q)   to assist the transitional government in conjunction with ECOWAS and other international partners in developing a strategy to consolidate governmental institutions, including a national legal framework and judicial and correctional institutions;

(r)   to assist the transitional government in restoring proper administration of natural resources;

(s)   to assist the transitional government, in conjunction with ECOWAS and other international partners, in preparing for national elections scheduled for no later than the end of 2005;

“4.   Demands that the Liberian parties cease hostilities throughout Liberia and fulfil their obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the ceasefire agreement, including cooperation in the formation of the JMC as established under the ceasefire agreement;

“5.   Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully in the deployment and operations of UNMIL, including through ensuring the safety, security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, together with associated personnel, throughout Liberia;

“6.   Encourages UNMIL, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, to support the voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons;

“7.   Requests the Liberian Government to conclude a status-of-force agreement with the Secretary-General within 30 days of adoption of this resolution, and notes that pending the conclusion of such an agreement the model status-of-force agreement dated 9 October 1990 (A/45/594) shall apply provisionally;

“8.   Calls upon all parties to ensure, in accordance with relevant provisions of international law, the full, safe and unhindered access of relief personnel to all those in need and delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to internally displaced persons and refugees;

“9.   Recognizes the importance of the protection of children in armed conflict, in accordance with its resolution 1379 (2001) and related resolutions;

“10.  Demands that all parties cease all use of child soldiers, that all parties cease all human rights violations and atrocities against the Liberia population, and stresses the need to bring to justice those responsible;

“11.  Reaffirms the importance of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations and post-conflict peace-building in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000), recalls the need to address violence against women and girls as a tool of warfare, and encourages UNMIL as well as the Liberian parties to actively address these issues;

“12.  Decides that the measures imposed by paragraphs 5 (a) and 5 (b) of resolution 1343 (2001) shall not apply to supplies of arms and related materiel and technical training and assistance intended solely for support of or use by UNMIL;

“13.  Reiterates its demand that all States in the region cease military support for armed groups in neighbouring countries, take action to prevent armed individuals and groups from using their territory to prepare and commit attacks on neighbouring countries and refrain from any actions that might contribute to further destabilization of the situation in the region, and declares its readiness to consider, if necessary, ways of promoting compliance with this demand;

“14.  Calls upon the transitional government to restore fully Liberia’s relations with its neighbours and to normalize Liberia’s relations with the international community;

“15.  Calls on the international community to consider how it might help future economic development in Liberia aimed at achieving long-term stability in Liberia and improving the welfare of its people;

“16.  Stresses the need for an effective public information capacity, including the establishment as necessary of United Nations radio stations to promote understanding of the peace process and the role of UNMIL among local communities and the parties;

“17.  Calls on the Liberian parties to engage for the purpose of addressing the question of DDRR on an urgent basis and urges the parties, in particular the transitional government of Liberia, and rebel groups Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL), to work closely with UNMIL, the JMC, relevant assistance organizations, and donor nations, in the implementation of a DDRR programme;

“18.  Calls on the international donor community to provide assistance for the implementation of a DDRR programme, and sustained international assistance to the peace process, and to contribute to consolidated humanitarian appeals;

“19.  Requests the Secretary-General to provide regular updates, including a formal report every 90 days to the Council on the progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and this resolution, including the implementation of UNMIL’s mandate;

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

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For information media. Not an official record.