- United Nations Chief boasts of the "significant progress" made by his organization's mission in Sierra Leone in supporting the government to consolidate peace and stability, strengthen security, promote human rights, the rule of law as well as help the country prepare for upcoming elections.
In a report, Ban Ki-moon warned that despite the significant progress, Sierra Leone "continues to experience political tension along ethnic and regional lines."
He says several factors, including high unemployment, poor economic and social conditions, and the soaring price of food and gasoline "have the potential to derail the peace consolidation process."
The UN chief says it is "critical that the main political parties put aside their differences in the interest of consolidating peace in the country," especially as the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) helped the West African country prepare for local council elections in July. The government of President Ernest Bai Koroma has been urged to "provide leadership in promoting national reconciliation."
He commends UNIOSIL for its immense contribution to improve Sierra Leone's security by boosting the capacity of the police force as well as enhance professionalism in the armed forces. Mr Ban however raised concern that the "rule of law sector still faces serious challenges which will continue to require the support of the international community."
After announcing the withdrawal of the current UN mission in September, Mr Ban recommends UNIOSIL to be replaced by a UN integrated peacebuilding office [UNIPSIL]. The new body “holistically addresses the political, economic and peacebuilding challenges facing the country.”
Established in 2006 purposely to help the government bolster peace in Sierra Leone after a more than decade civil conflict, UNIOSIL is also tasked with tackling challenges of good governance, security, human rights and development.
During Sierra Leone's 11-year civil war, thousands of people were killed, raped, maimed or amputated.
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