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UN Security Council stresses that Sierra Leone Government has the primary responsibility to protect and defend the country

UN Security Council stresses that Sierra Leone Government has the primary responsibility to protect and defend the country

April 12, 2012 – The United Nations Security Council has emphasized the Sierra Leone Government’s “primary responsibility  for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country.”  In a statement from the President of the Security Council to conclude the recent quarterly session on the situation in Sierra Leone, the Security Council also noted “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.”

H.E ERNEST KOROMA : PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF SIERRA LEONE : UN SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS HIS GOVERNMENT HAS THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT AND DEFEND THE NATION

Permanent Representative Ambassador Shekou M. Touray said today that the statement means that the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security in the country rests with the government. Diplomatic sources interpreted this statement to mean an expression of support from the UN Security Council for measures the government has taken to protect the lives and properties of the Sierra Leonean people and foreigners within her borders.

The President of the Security Council also acknowledged ” the statement of the Government of Sierra Leone on 3 April 2012 clarifying its position regarding the arms delivered to the Sierra Leone Police and the Council underscored ” the importance for Sierra Leone’s national authorities to respond proportionately to threats to the security of all citizens in Sierra Leone.” Another diplomat versed in the language of UN diplomacy told COCORIOKO that this was also an expression of support for the government’s right to protect and defend the country against threats to her security , using proportionate force.

This latest development in the UN Security Council also means that the Council did not view unfavourably the recent arms importation by the Sierra Leone Government . In fact , the statement also seems to acknowledge that the Sierra Leone security forces had been faring well when it  called upon the Government “to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights and applicable international law. Since the end of the war, Sierra Leone has trained security forces that are among of the most disciplined in Africa.

Stating that the 2012 elections are important “for consolidation of peace and security in Sierra Leone “, the Council called upon “all political parties to engage constructively in an honest and open dialogue aimed at furthering national cohesion.” The Council also called ”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.” Further, ”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 ” .

This very favourable Security Council Report on Sierra Leone was distorted and given a negative twist by the Reuters News Agency which came out with the totally misleading headline : UN Warns Sierra Leone but the issue has been addressed by COCORIOKO in its editorial titled : The coverage of African issues by the Western and foreign media is disgraceful to accurate journalism .

The Security Council also laid to rest the Michael Schulenberg issue and urged “the Secretary General to promptly appoint a successor”.

HERE BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT FROM THE SECURITY COUNCIL

At the meeting of the Security Council, held on 12 April 2012 in connection with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “The situation in Sierra Leone”, the President of the Security Council made the following statement on behalf of the Council:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. The Security Council commends the contribution of UNIPSIL and the UN Country Team to the peacebuilding and development priorities of Sierra Leone, and in particular through the integrated UN 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.
  7. The Security Council continues to emphasize the important role of the regional organisations 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 organised crime.
  8. 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 UN Country Team.

The Security Council remains actively seized of this matter.

Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN

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