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Migiro urges greater support for Guinea-Bissau and other post-conflict nations

Migiro urges greater support for Guinea-Bissau and other post-conflict nations

Asha-Rose Migiro
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro today called for greater international support to Guinea-Bissau and other African nations emerging from conflict, following a visit to the small West African nation last week.

“The fact remains that Guinea-Bissau as well as other countries in the region that are coming out of conflict need more and sustained support from the international community if they are to consolidate peace and address the socio-economic and other root causes of conflict,” Ms. Migiro said at a press conference in New York.

Briefing reporters on her recent trip, which also took her to Austria, Ghana and Kenya, she said Guinea-Bissau remains in a “fragile, post-conflict period,” noting that the country is now facing a growing problem of drug trafficking and organized crime, in addition to its long-standing development challenges.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on the activities of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS), also described organized crime, particularly drug trafficking, as presenting “a new and growing” problem in the country, while the Security Council raised similar concerns in a press statement yesterday.

Ms. Migiro said that although the UN is supporting the Government in addressing the country’s “daunting challenges,” long-term international assistance to the country – which has witnessed rising political and social tensions and a deteriorating economic situation – remains crucial.

Ms. Migiro’s visit – intended to reaffirm UN support for Guinea-Bissau’s ongoing efforts to consolidate peace, national reconciliation and constitutional governance – was the first-ever official visit of a Secretary-General or Deputy Secretary-General since that nation joined the Organization in 1974.

She added that she was particularly struck by a visit to an HIV and AIDS counselling and treatment centre in the country, noting that “like in many other countries in Africa, AIDS is having a devastating impact on the lives and economies of communities in Guinea-Bissau.”

Therefore, fighting the spread of HIV cannot be achieved without the sustained involvement of all sections of society, including civil society organizations, the Government, media and the health-care community, she stated.

In Nairobi, where she attended a conference with women leaders, the Deputy Secretary-General also highlighted the UN’s role in fighting the alarming spread of HIV, especially among women and girls.

She stressed the need to tackle the “drivers of the spread of the disease,” particularly the issue of gender inequality, and emphasized that “we must all work together to promote women’s empowerment as a way to fight HIV and AIDS.”

Ms. Migiro stopped off in Guinea-Bissau following an official visit to Austria, where she addressed the 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government hosted by the UN in Vienna, and just prior to attending the annual summit of the African Union in Accra, Ghana, which she addressed on behalf of Mr. Ban.