SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 JUNE 2005, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1562 (2004)

17 September 2004
SC/8188

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 JUNE 2005, UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1562 (2004)

17/09/2004
Press ReleaseSC/8188

Security Council

5037th Meeting (AM)

SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS MANDATE OF SIERRA LEONE MISSION UNTIL 30 JUNE 2005,

UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTING RESOLUTION 1562 (2004)

The Security Council this morning, welcoming further progress towards the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), decided to extend the Mission’s mandate for nine months until 30 June 2005 and defined the nature of the tasks for the Mission’s residual presence for an initial six-month period from 1 January 2005.

Unanimously adopting resolution 1562 (2004), the Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, decided that, in terms of the military and civilian police tasks, the Mission would undertake the following:  to monitor the overall security situation; to support the Sierra Leone armed forces and police in patrolling the border and diamond-mining areas; and to monitor the growing capacity of the Sierra Leone security sector.

Other tasks would entail supporting the Sierra Leone police in maintaining internal security, including security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone, and assisting the police with its recruitment, training and mentoring programme and protecting United Nations personnel, installations and equipment.

The Council also determined that the civilian tasks would include monitoring the repatriation, reception, resettlement and reintegration of Sierra Leonean ex-combatants from abroad; monitoring, investigating and promoting the observance of human rights; disseminating information on the Mission’s mandate; and monitoring progress towards consolidation of State authority throughout the country.

By further terms of the draft, the Council authorized the residual UNAMSIL presence to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment.

It also expressed its intention to regularly review the Mission against several benchmarks, including strengthening the capacity of the Sierra Leone armed forces and police to maintain security and stability throughout the country, consolidating State authority throughout the country and consolidating the deployment of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) throughout Liberia.

The Council meanwhile urged Sierra Leone’s Government to intensify efforts to develop an effective and sustainable police force, armed forces, penal system and independent judiciary, so that the Government can take over from UNAMSIL -- as soon as possible –- full responsibility for maintaining law and order throughout the country, including in the sensitive diamond-producing areas.

The meeting began at 10:45 a.m. and adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

Council Resolution

The full text of resolution 1562 (2004) 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,

Commending the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States towards building peace in the subregion, and encouraging the Mano River Union member States to continue their dialogue aimed at building regional peace and security,

Encouraging the United Nation missions in the region to continue their efforts towards developing inter-mission cooperation, especially in the prevention of movements of arms and combatants across borders and in the implementation of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes,

Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 10 September 2004 (S/2004/724),

Welcoming the further progress made towards the benchmarks for drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), and commending UNAMSIL for the progress made to date in the adjustments to its size, composition and deployment,

Underlining the importance of additional efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Sierra Leone Police and armed forces to maintain security and stability effectively,

Underlining the importance of increasingly close collaboration between UNAMSIL and the United Nations country team in Sierra Leone, to ensure a smooth transition after the final departure of UNAMSIL,

Expressing its appreciation for the essential work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, noting its vital contribution to the establishment of the rule of law in Sierra Leone, and encouraging all States to cooperate fully with the Court,

Determining that the situation in Sierra Leone continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,

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

“1.   Decides that the current mandate of UNAMSIL shall be extended until 30 June 2005;

“2.   Decides further that the tasks of the residual UNAMSIL presence, which shall remain in Sierra Leone for an initial period of six months from 1 January 2005, as set out in paragraph 5 of resolution 1537 (2004) of 30 March 2004, shall be the following:

Military and civilian police tasks

• To monitor, in conjunction with district and provincial security committees, the overall security situation, to support the Sierra Leone armed forces and police in patrolling the border and diamond-mining areas, including through joint planning and joint operations where appropriate, and to monitor the growing capacity of the Sierra Leone security sector;

• To support the Sierra Leone Police in maintaining internal security, including security for the Special Court for Sierra Leone while UNAMSIL remains deployed in Sierra Leone;

• To assist the Sierra Leone Police with its programme of recruitment, training and mentoring designed to strengthen further the capacity and resources of the Police;

• To protect United Nations personnel, installations and equipment and ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment;

Civilian tasks

• To monitor the repatriation, reception, resettlement and reintegration of Sierra Leonean ex-combatants from abroad;

• To monitor, investigate, report and promote the observance of human rights;

• To disseminate information on the mission’s mandate and purpose and publicize the Government’s primary responsibility for national security, including through United Nations radio;

• To monitor progress towards consolidation of State authority throughout the country;

“3.   Authorizes the residual UNAMSIL presence to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment;

“4.   Expresses its intention to review regularly the residual UNAMSIL presence against the following benchmarks:

• Strengthening the capacity of the Sierra Leone armed forces and police to maintain security and stability effectively throughout the country;

• Consolidating State authority throughout the country;

• Consolidating the deployment of UNMIL throughout Liberia;

“5.   Welcomes  the Secretary-General’s assurance, as set out in paragraph 91 of his report of 19 March 2004 (S/2004/228), that where military observers, civil affairs officers, political affairs officers, human rights officers and civilian police personnel are co-deployed, they will function as integrated units and work in close collaboration with the United Nations country team;

“6.   Urges the Government of Sierra Leone to intensify its efforts to develop an effective and sustainable police force, armed forces, penal system and independent judiciary, so that the Government can take over from UNAMSIL as soon as possible full responsibility for maintaining law and order throughout Sierra Leone, including in the sensitive diamond-producing areas, and encourages donors and UNAMSIL, in accordance with its mandate, to continue to assist the Government in this regard, as well as to assist the Government in restoring public services throughout the country;

“7.   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 regularly to the Council, after due consultations with troop-contributing countries and the Government of Sierra Leone;

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

Background

The Council had before it the twenty-third report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (document S/2004/724), in which he recommends that UNAMSIL’s mandate be extended for a nine-month period, until 30 June 2005, to continue with the Mission’s gradual drawdown and to ensure a seamless transition from its current configuration to a residual presence. 

In the report, the Secretary-General notes that the overall gradual progress and stable political environment in Sierra Leone has continued to facilitate the consolidation of peace in the country.  Sierra Leone’s Government has made significant progress towards accomplishing a number of benchmarks for the Mission’s withdrawal.  Notably, revenue from the export of diamonds has significantly increased as the Government’s capacity to monitor and control mining activities has improved.  The disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme has been successfully completed and State authority is being consolidated, albeit not without difficulty.  The overall environment has also permitted a slow increase in economic and commercial activity throughout the country.

The adjusted timetable for the drawdown of UNAMSIL troops, described in the twenty-second progress report, remains on track, the Secretary-General says.  By the end of December, the Mission’s strength will be reduced to fewer than 5,000 troops, of which some 1,500 military personnel will be retained for up to two months to provide logistical support and a seamless transition to the Mission’s residual presence.  By the end of February 2005, the force strength is expected to be 3,250 troops and 141 United Nations military observers.  The reduction of the military strength will be accompanied by a concomitant reduction of the Mission’s civilian staff in 2004 and 2005.

During the forthcoming few months, he continues, UNAMSIL is expected to hand over to the Government primary responsibility for security of the western area of the country, the only area that remains under its full responsibility.  Sierra Leone’s Government will then have assumed the primary role for security nationwide, with UNAMSIL playing a supporting role by early 2005.

Much remains to be done, however, to achieve long-term stability and recovery, particularly with regard to the security sector, the report states.  The lack of adequate logistical support and field accommodation continues to prevent the much-needed nationwide deployment of Sierra Leone police, while the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) still remain a weak element.  In particular, serious shortfalls in logistics and infrastructure have continued to hamper the army’s operations.  In that regard, on 25 August, the Secretary-General sent letters to potential donors, drawing their attention to the need to provide urgent assistance to the RSLAF.

While considerable progress has been made towards national economic and social recovery, continued support needs to be given to particularly vulnerable areas of the country so that all regions of the country can benefit from transition, the Secretary-General says.  Sierra Leone’s Government has continued to make concerted efforts towards promoting democratic governance, an important example of which was the recent establishment of local councils.  Considerable challenges will have to be met, however, as the Government strives to decentralize its administration.  The local council’s administrative and service delivery capacity is also likely to be hampered by the lack of adequately trained staff, logistics and infrastructure, the report adds.

The report also finds that the Government continues to face challenges in restoring the rule of law and promoting human rights.  Penal and judicial reforms are needed if the judiciary is to contribute to ongoing efforts to address the residual aspects of the conflict.  Factors such as poor socio-economic conditions, compounded by the high rate of youth unemployment, require urgent attention to preserve the current relative stability of the country’s political and security environment.

Despite the many remaining challenges, ongoing efforts to stabilize Liberia are positively impacting the situation in the Mano River Union subregion, the report says.  Recent efforts by Liberia’s Chairman of the National Transitional Government, Gyude Bryant, to improve bilateral relations between Guinea and Sierra Leone with a view to identifying a solution to the territorial issue concerning the border town of Yenga are also promising.  Leaders of the subregion are encouraged to take steps to enhance dialogue among the Mano River member States to ensure that the organization becomes an important instrument for promoting subregional security and stability.

On the issue of human rights, national reconciliation and justice, the report notes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has completed its operational mandate, with over 8,000 statements documented on the issues, events and human rights violations that occurred during the decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone.  In July 2004, the Special Court for Sierra Leone entered its third year of operation.  While there have been no significant security threats against the Special Court since it commenced trials on 3 June 2004, there is a concern that, as trials continue, there could be an increased risk of threats against it staff and facilities by elements hostile to its operations.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.