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Sierra Leone: Security Council urges end to human rights violations by rebels

Sierra Leone: Security Council urges end to human rights violations by rebels

The United Nations Security Council today demanded that armed rebels and other forces in Sierra Leone immediately cease attacking and violating the human rights of civilians, in particular women and children.

In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council said it was deeply concerned about the abuses and attacks committed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and other armed groups and individuals, against the civilian population, and asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ensure that all human rights monitoring positions within the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) were filled.

The Council particularly urged the RUF to step up its efforts to fulfil its commitments under the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement, by ensuring full liberty for the UN to deploy its troops. The group was also urged to ensure the free movement of persons, goods and humanitarian assistance, the safe movement of relief agencies, refugees and displaced persons and the immediate return of all seized weapons, ammunition and other equipment.

Extending UNAMSIL's mandate through March 2002, the Council asked the Mission to continue to support returning refugees and displaced persons and urged the RUF to cooperate to that end in fulfilment of Abuja commitments.

The resolution also emphasized the importance of a successful disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme to long-term stability in Sierra Leone and urged the RUF, CDF and other groups to continue their commitment to the programme. Expressing concern at the serious financial shortfall in the multi-donor Trust Fund for the demobilization programme, the Council urged international organizations and donor countries to support the efforts of the Sierra Leonean Government, and to provide additional funds for the wide range of urgently needed post-conflict activities, including humanitarian and rehabilitation requirements.

The Council also emphasized the importance of free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections for the long-term stability of the country and took note of the Mission's readiness to provide support to facilitate a vote. Emphasizing that the development and extension of Sierra Leone's administrative capacities were essential to sustainable peace and to the holding of elections, the Council urged the Government to accelerate efforts to restore civil authority and basic country-wide public services.

In a separate action, the Council adopted its report to the General Assembly covering the period from 16 June 2000 to 15 June 2001.