SECURITY COUNCIL EXTENDS UN MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE UNTIL 30 SEPTEMBER; URGES RESTORATION OF CIVIL AUTHORITY, PUBLIC SERVICES
Resolution 1400 (2002) Adopted Unanimously
NEW YORK, 28 March (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning extended the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) for a further six months until 30 September, as the Mission redoubles its efforts to assist the newly formed National Electoral Commission in the weeks leading up to the presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for 14 May.
The Council, through the unanimous adoption of the orally revised resolution 1400 (2002), urged the Government, with UNAMSIL’s assistance, to accelerate the restoration of civil authority and public services throughout the country, in particular in the diamond mining areas, including the deployment of key government personnel and police and the deployment of the Sierra Leone Army on border security tasks.
In a related provision, the Council welcomed the establishment of the electoral component of UNAMSIL and the recruitment of 30 additional civilian police advisers to support the Government and the Sierra Leone police in preparing for elections.
It also welcomed the military concept of operations for UNAMSIL for 2002 outlined in the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March (document S/2002/267). (The report states that the Mission was currently focusing on implementing phase one of its military concept of operations for 2002, the main objective of which is to ensure effective security for the forthcoming elections).
A further provision expressed the Council’s serious concern at allegations that some United Nations personnel might have been involved in sexual abuse of women and children in camps for refugees and internally displaced people in the region.
The Council supported the Secretary-General’s policy of "zero tolerance" for such abuse and asked him to make recommendations on how to prevent any such crimes in the future. It called on States concerned to take the necessary measures to bring to justice their own nationals responsible for such crimes.
Serious concern was also expressed at the violence, particularly sexual violence, suffered by women and children during the conflict, as well as at evidence by UNAMSIL of human rights abuses and breaches of humanitarian law.
Members requested the Secretary-General, in his September report, to provide a further assessment of the situation of women and children who had suffered during the conflict.
Prior to adoption of the text, Security Council President Ole Peter Kolby (Norway) read out an amended third line to operative paragraph 15, which encourages the continued support of UNAMSIL. The new third line reads, as follows: "and urges all stakeholders to continue to cooperate to this end to fulfil their commitments under the ceasefire agreement".]
The full text of resolution 1400 (2002) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone,
"Affirming the commitment of all States to respect the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of Sierra Leone,
"Welcoming the meeting of the Mano River Union Presidents held in Rabat on 27 February 2002 at the invitation of His Majesty the King of Morocco,
"Welcoming the further progress made in the peace process in Sierra Leone, including the lifting of the state of emergency, commending the positive role of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in advancing the peace process, and calling for its further consolidation,
"Encouraging the Mano River Union Women’s Peace Network and other civil society initiatives to continue their contribution towards regional peace,
"Determining that the situation in Sierra Leone continues to constitute a threat to peace and security in this region,
"Expressing its concern at the fragile situation in the Mano River region, the substantial increase in refugees and the humanitarian consequences for the civilian, refugee and internally displaced populations in the region,
"Emphasizing the importance of free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections, and welcoming the progress made by the Government of Sierra Leone and the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone in preparing for elections, particularly with voter registration,
"Reiterating the importance of the effective extension of State authority throughout the country, the reintegration of ex-combatants, voluntary and unhindered return of refugees and internally displaced persons, full respect for human rights and the rule of law, and effective action on impunity and accountability, paying special attention to the protection of women and children, and stressing continued United Nations support for the fulfilment of these objectives,
"Welcoming the Agreement between the United Nations and the Government of Sierra Leone on the Establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, and the recommendations of the Planning Mission on the Establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (S/2002/246) and the report of the Secretary-General of 14 March 2002 (S/2002/267) that UNAMSIL should provide administrative and related support to the Special Court,
"Emphasizing the importance of the continuing support of UNAMSIL to the Government of Sierra Leone in the consolidation of peace and stability after the elections,
"Having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 14 March 2002 (S/2002/267),
"1. Decides that the mandate of UNAMSIL shall be extended for a period of six months from 30 March 2002;
"2. Expresses its appreciation to those Member States providing troops and support elements to UNAMSIL and those who have made commitments to do so;
"3. Welcomes the military concept of operations for UNAMSIL for 2002 outlined in paragraph 10 of the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March 2002 (S/2002/267), and requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council at regular intervals on progress made by UNAMSIL in the implementation of its key aspects and in the planning of its subsequent phases;
"4. Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) to strengthen their efforts towards full implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement signed in Abuja on 10 November 2000 (S/2000/1091) between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF and reaffirmed at the meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations, the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF at Abuja on 2 May 2001;
"5. Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF to continue to take steps towards furthering of dialogue and national reconciliation, and, in this regard, stresses the importance of the reintegration of the RUF into Sierra Leone society and the transformation of the RUF into a political party, and demands the immediate and transparent dismantling of all non-government military structures;
"6. Welcomes the formal completion of the disarmament process, expresses concern at the serious financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme, and urges the Government of Sierra Leone to seek actively the urgently needed additional resources for reintegration;
"7. Emphasizes that the development of the administrative capacities of the Government of Sierra Leone is essential to sustainable peace and development, and to the holding of free and fair elections, and therefore urges the Government of Sierra Leone, with the assistance of UNAMSIL, in accordance with its mandate, to accelerate the restoration of civil authority and public services throughout the country, in particular in the diamond mining areas, including the deployment of key government personnel and police and the deployment of the Sierra Leone Army on border security tasks, and calls on States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to assist in the wide range of recovery efforts;
"8. Welcomes the establishment of the electoral component of UNAMSIL and the recruitment of 30 additional civilian police advisers to support the Government of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone police in preparing for elections;
"9. Welcomes the signature on 16 January 2002 of the Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations on the Establishment of a Special Court for Sierra Leone, as envisaged by resolution 1315 (2000) of 14 August 2000, urges donors urgently to disburse their pledges to the Trust Fund for the Special Court, looks forward to the Court expeditiously beginning its operations, and endorses UNAMSIL’s providing, without prejudice to its capabilities to perform its specified mandate, administrative and related support to the Special Court on a cost-reimbursable basis;
"10. Welcomes progress made by the Government of Sierra Leone, together with the Secretary-General, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other relevant international actors, in establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and urges donors urgently to commit funds to it;
"11. Welcomes the summit meeting of the Mano River Union Presidents held in Rabat on 27 February 2002, urges the Presidents to continue dialogue and to implement their commitments to building regional peace and security, and encourages the ongoing efforts of ECOWAS towards a lasting and final settlement of the crisis in the Mano River Union region;
"12. Expresses its serious concern at the violence, particularly sexual violence, suffered by women and children during the conflict in Sierra Leone, and emphasizes the importance of addressing these issues effectively;
"13. Expresses its serious concern at the evidence UNAMSIL has found of human rights abuses and breaches of humanitarian law set out in paragraphs 38 to 40 of the Secretary-General’s report of 14 March 2002 (S/2002/267), encourages UNAMSIL to continue its work, and in this context requests the Secretary-General to provide a further assessment in his September report, particularly regarding the situation of women and children who have suffered during the conflict;
"14. Expresses its serious concern at allegations that some United Nations personnel may have been involved in sexual abuse of women and children in camps for refugees and internally displaced people in the region, supports the Secretary-General’s policy of zero tolerance for such abuse, looks forward to the Secretary-General’s report on the outcome of the investigation into these allegations, and requests him to make recommendations on how to prevent any such crimes in future, while calling on States concerned to take the necessary measures to bring to justice their own nationals responsible for such crimes;
"15. Encourages the continued support of UNAMSIL, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, for returning refugees and displaced persons, and urges all stakeholders to continue to cooperate to this end to fulfil their commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement;
"16. Welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to keep the security, political, humanitarian and human rights situation in Sierra Leone under close review and to report to the Council, after due consultations with troop-contributing countries, with any additional recommendations, and requests in particular the Secretary-General to submit before 30 June 2002 an interim report assessing the post-electoral situation and the prospects for peace consolidation;
"17. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Sierra Leone. Before it was the thirteenth report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) (document S/2002/267). Covering the period from 13 December 2001 to 30 March 2002, the report recommends that the Mission, the mandate of which expires on 30 March, be extended until 30 September.
According to the report, the completion of the disarmament process and UNAMSIL’s deployment throughout the country have created a relatively more secure environment. The peaceful atmosphere that characterized voter registration for the coming elections, scheduled for 14 May, bodes well for the next phases of the electoral process. The National Electoral commission must, however, rectify shortcomings such as organizational and management problems, and must coordinate closely with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the registration of returning refugees.
The recent public statements by the leaders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), expressing their commitment to transforming their movement into a political party, were a welcome development. The sincerity of RUF’s commitment to the democratic process will, however, be measured by how it conducts itself before, during and after the elections. Following the elections, it will be necessary to closely monitor the reaction of all parties and take stock of the evolving environment, with a view to ensuring a peaceful transition. The UNAMSIL is preparing for all possible contingencies
The report notes that the elections will not, by themselves, provide a lasting solution to the crisis in Sierra Leone. Without well established State institutions and security agencies capable of defending against internal and external threats, the achieved stability will remain vulnerable. In the period immediately following the elections, the newly elected Government and the international community must, therefore, focus on peace consolidation. Urgent attention needs to be paid to the extension of State authority, the reintegration of ex-combatants and the restoration of the Government’s control over diamond mining.
Should the security situation continue to improve after the elections, adjustments will need to be made to the current strength, composition and deployment of UNAMSIL troops. Initial planning for those adjustments is already under way, the report states. The process of national recovery has to begin early so that it contributes to the earliest consolidation of peace. Reintegration of displaced persons and refugees, employment creation, and the repair of vital infrastructure should be accorded priority.
According to the report, the process of national reconciliation and ensuring accountability for committed atrocities will also constitute an important aspect of peace consolidation. The preparations for the Special Court and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will no doubt gather momentum after the elections. The Secretary-General expects the Government, UNAMSIL and civil society to work closely together and step up activities aimed at informing the public about the Court and the Commission.
The Secretary-General remains concerned about the recent escalation of the conflict in Liberia, as it will be extremely difficult to safeguard the achieved security and stability as long as conflict persists in a neighbouring State. He hopes that the Mano River Union summit meeting held at Rabat, Morocco, on 27 February marks the beginning of sustained dialogue among the leaders of the subregion.
Deeply disturbed about recent reports of sexual exploitation of minors and women in the subregion, the Secretary-General has asked the Office of Internal Oversight Services to conduct a thorough investigation. In addition to strengthening preventive and disciplinary measures by the concerned United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations, it would also be important to address the underlying causes of the problem, including poverty and the breakdown of community values.
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