Children in the Quinara region of Guinea-Bissau. UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

9 May 2013 ? The mandate of the United Nations political mission in Guinea-Bissau, which last year underwent a military coup, should be adjusted to support a two-phase process for the full restoration of constitutional order and medium-term stability in the country, according to a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented to the Security Council today.

?It is important that the United Nations system and subregional, regional and international partners work together to support a responsible, legitimate and effective State, operating under the rule of law and able to provide security, essential services and economic opportunities to its people,? according to the report.

The recommendations presented to the Council by Jose Ramos Horta, Special Representative for the Secretary-General and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), who led an assessment of the Office?s mandate that was reflected in the text.

Soldiers in Guinea-Bissau ? a West African country with a history of coups, misrule and political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974 ? seized power on 12 April 2012.

The coup d?etat came ahead of a presidential run-off election that was slated for 22 April between Carlos Gomes J?nior and a former president, Kumba Yala, prompting calls from the international community for a return to civilian rule.

According to the Secretary-General?s recommendations, the first phase of the restoration of constitutional order and stability would culminate presidential and legislative elections, and focus on creating ?a political environment built on confidence and non-interference in the electoral process.?

The second phase proposed by the Secretary-General, which would conclude at the end of the term of the next elected government, should focus on post-election stability, on strengthening of State and democratic governance institutions ? notably security, justice and defence ? and on the functioning of both central and local State structures.

The current mandate of UNIOGBIS, which was established in 2010 to replace the previous peacebuilding support office known as UNIOGBIS, which in turn was put in place in 1999 after an 11-month civil war, expires at the end of this month.

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