|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6748th Meeting (AM)
Security Council Statement Acknowledges Sierra Leone’s ‘Steady Progress’,
Government’s Clarification Regarding Arms Shipments to Police
To advance national cohesion and ensure free and fair elections in Sierra Leone, the Security Council this morning called for dialogue, compliance with previous agreements, and adherence to international law by all parties in the country, as well as the prompt appointment by the Secretary-General of a new Executive Representative.
Through a statement read out by Susan Rice of the United States, which holds the Council presidency for the month of April, the Council followed up on a 22 March briefing by the outgoing Representative, Michael von der Schulenburg (see Press Release SC/10589), by acknowledging the “steady progress” the West African country had made in emerging from its brutal civil war and emphasizing the importance of all political parties fostering an environment conducive to the peaceful conduct of national and local elections planned for 17 November 2012.
During his briefing, Mr. von der Schulenburg had expressed great concern over reports that the Government had imported millions of dollars worth of assault weapons in January to equip a recently enlarged paramilitary wing of its police force, known as the Operational Services Division. The Council, through today’s statement, acknowledged the receipt of a clarification from the Government regarding arms shipments and underscored the importance for the national authorities to respond “proportionately” to threats to the security of its citizens. It called on the Government to ensure that its security forces remained committed to upholding applicable international law.
Through the statement, the Council also stressed the importance of regional organizations for peace consolidation in Sierra Leone — calling for intensified transnational efforts to fight organized crime and drug trafficking — as well as the coordinated efforts of the Peacebuilding Commission, the United Nations country team, and the Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the country known as UNIPSIL, commending the work of Mr. von der Schulenburg as its head.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:16 a.m.
The full text of the statement contained in document S/PRST/2012/11 reads as follows:
The Security Council welcomes the latest report of the Secretary-General dated 14 March 2012 (S/2012/160) on the situation in Sierra Leone and the activities of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL). The Council welcomes the briefing provided by the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) in Sierra Leone, Mr. Michael von der Schulenburg, on 22 March 2012. The Council reaffirms its support for continuing efforts to consolidate peace in that country.
The Security Council emphasises that the Government of Sierra Leone bears primary responsibility for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country. The Council notes the steady progress achieved so far by the national authorities and people of Sierra Leone in a number of areas including national reconciliation, the promotion of gender equality and the preparation for national and local elections on 17 November 2012. The Council emphasises the importance of these elections for consolidation of peace and security in Sierra Leone.
The Security Council calls upon all political parties to engage constructively in an honest and open dialogue aimed at furthering national cohesion. The Council calls on the Government of Sierra Leone, all political parties as well as other stakeholders to intensify their efforts to foster an environment that is conducive to the holding of peaceful, transparent, free and fair elections. The Council calls on the leadership of the political parties to undertake cross-party confidence-building measures, promote political participation and non-violence among their membership and ensure the full adherence to due process of law and to the recommendations of the 2 April 2009 Joint Communiqué, which inter alia calls for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints Committee to reinforce the neutrality and professionalism of the Police, and the Political Parties Code of Conduct. The Council believes that these steps are essential to ensure public and international confidence in Sierra Leone’s democratic process.
The Security Council acknowledges the statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on 3 April 2012 clarifying its position regarding the arms delivered to the Sierra Leone Police. The Council underscores the importance for Sierra Leone’s national authorities to respond proportionately to threats to the security of all citizens in Sierra Leone. The Council calls upon the Government to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights and applicable international law.
The Security Council calls on the Independent Media Commission to proactively monitor the media and ensure compliance with the code of conduct for the media and calls on the national authorities to address the administrative and financial challenges facing the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation.
The Security Council commends the contribution of UNIPSIL and the United Nations country team to the peacebuilding and development priorities of Sierra Leone, and in particular through the integrated United Nations Joint Vision. The Council commends the achievements of ERSG von der Schulenburg in Sierra Leone and urges the Secretary-General to promptly appoint a successor.
The Security Council continues to emphasize the important role of the regional organizations such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Mano River Union in supporting Sierra Leone to achieve its peacebuilding, security and long-term development goals. The Council acknowledges the work of the Transnational Organised Crime Unit and calls on Sierra Leone’s authorities to work with its neighbours and regional partners in order to intensify their joint efforts to consolidate regional peace and security, including through tackling the challenges posed by drug trafficking and organized crime.
The Security Council acknowledges the role of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) in supporting peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone, including in addressing the priority area of youth employment. The Council urges the PBC to continue working in support of UNIPSIL and the United Nations country team.
The Security Council remains actively seized of this matter.
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