Ban voices concern at pattern of political killings in Guinea-Bissau

5 June 2009

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his concern at the “emerging pattern of killings” of high profile personalities in Guinea-Bissau, where a presidential candidate and a member of parliament were gunned down today, just months after the country’s president and his chief of staff were assassinated.

Mr. Ban is “dismayed” by the news of the assassinations of Baciro Dabo, a candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections, and Helder Proenca, a Member of Parliament and former Minister of Defense, along with others, his spokesperson said in a statement.

Coming so soon after the assassinations in March of President João Bernardo Vieira and his Chief of General Staff, General Batista Tagme Na Waie, “these criminal acts are a tragic setback for efforts to restore the rule of law and democratic processes in the country, but they should not be allowed to deter the forthcoming presidential elections,” the statement said.

“These developments underscore once again the importance and urgency of conducting a thorough, credible and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the assassinations in Guinea Bissau,” it added.

Mr. Ban called on national authorities, including the military, to ensure that the human rights of all citizens are upheld and protected.

Today’s statement added that the UN will be consulting with national authorities and the International Contact Group on Guinea-Bissau to explore what more needs to be done to end impunity and restore respect for the rule of law in the country.

In a report released last month, Mr. Ban had said that assassinations in March highlighted the need for the West African nation’s justice, defence and security sectors to be reformed. The country has struggled in recent decades to combat drug trafficking and organized crime, and also to sustain economic growth and political stability amid a series of civil conflicts, coups d’état and uprisings.

 

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Support for Guinea-Bissau’s elections, fight against impunity vital – UN envoy

The United Nations envoy to Guinea-Bissau today urged continued support for national reconciliation and the fight against impunity in the West African country, which is gearing up for elections following last month’s double assassinations of the President and of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.