Guinea-Bissau: Security Council Press Statement
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Gary Quinlan (Australia):
On 5 September 2013, the members of the Security Council were briefed by Mr. José Ramos‑Horta, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Office for Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), who presented the Secretary–General’s report on the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 2048 (2012) on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea‑Bissau.
The members of the Security Council were encouraged by the political consensus that has led to positive progress in recent months in Guinea‑Bissau, including the creation of a more inclusive transitional Government; the election of the President of the National Electoral Commission; the creation of the National Commission for Planning and Strategic Coordination; and the revision of the electoral code. They took note of the decision of 2 September 2013 by the Authorities in charge of the transitional period to opt for an improved manual voter registration system, for the establishment of the electoral register for the upcoming elections.
The members of the Security Council regretted that despite this progress, there have been delays in the electoral process, regarding the date of 24 November 2013 set by the President of the transitional period for the elections. The members of the Security Council stressed that it is imperative that the presidential and legislative elections be held as soon as possible, taking into account the end of the period of the transition period set on 31 December 2013, and insisted that the Authorities in charge of the transitional period take all appropriate measures to further deepen the internal political dialogue and ensure that these elections are credible, transparent, inclusive and democratic at all stages of the electoral process that will be acceptable to all.
In this regard, the members of the Security Council urged, Bissau Guinean stakeholders to promote the principle of consensus in order to resolve the outstanding issues and allow the start of the electoral process in the shortest time possible, including by adopting a code of conduct so as to create a peaceful electoral environment aiming at enduring peace, national reconciliation and democracy.
The members of the Security Council also urged Bissau Guinean stakeholders to ensure the creation of conditions, conducive to the safe participation of all political actors in the political process.
The members of the Security Council further urged stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau, especially political actors, to pursue constructive and inclusive dialogue aimed at building consensus on key reforms to be undertaken in the coming years.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the commitments of Guinea‑Bissau’s international partners, and, in this regard, called upon them to remain engaged so as to consolidate gains and enable further progress. In this context, they also welcomed the initiative of the African Union that led a second joint assessment mission in Bissau from 8 to 10 July 2013, involving ECOWAS, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), the European Union, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council noted that the support of Guinea‑Bissau’s partners is required to finance the electoral process and welcomed in this regard, the pledge of the European Union to provide assistance. They invited all Guinea‑Bissau’s partners to contribute to the financing of the elections.
The members of the Security Council particularly welcomed and encouraged ECOWAS for its initiatives on the ground, including through its Mission in Bissau (ECOMIB) and for ongoing measures to implement security sector reform in Guinea‑Bissau and to support the socio‑economic stabilisation of that country.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their concerns about the prevailing culture of impunity and lack of accountability in Guinea‑Bissau. In this regard, they welcomed the holding of the National Conference on Impunity, Justice and Human Rights in Bissau in July 2013, and once again urged the Authorities in charge of the transitional period to take swift action to fight impunity and promote justice, while calling on the stakeholders to implement the recommendations of the Conference.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for effective civilian oversight and supervision of defence and security forces. They called on the defence and security forces personnel to refrain from any acts that are likely to jeopardise the process of inclusive dialogue and national reconciliation, or undermine efforts to achieve a national consensus for the restoration of constitutional order and the implementation of reforms, which are key to the long-term stability of Guinea‑Bissau.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the initiatives taken by UNIOGBIS and the Department of Political Affairs to reinstate an international presence to assist in the fight against drug trafficking in Guinea‑Bissau, through the return of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to the country. They renewed their call for international support to its activities. The members of the Security Council reiterated their deep concern at continued drug trafficking in and through Guinea-Bissau, and at the threat it poses to stability.