The Security Council today voiced concern at the current security situation and threats to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, and stressed the need for the Government and people of the West African nation to work towards stability and the rule of law.
On 1 April the Prime Minister and of the Chief of General Staff and other senior military officers were briefly detained by some members of the armed forces, constituting what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “a major setback” to efforts to consolidate stability and carry out key reforms.
“The Council calls upon the Government of Guinea-Bissau to release immediately all those detained in the events of 1 April 2010 or prosecute them with full respect for due process,” the 15-member body said in a statement read out Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for July.
Stressing that genuine security sector reform requires the creation of “effective professional and accountable” security forces and respect for the rule of law, the Council called on the Government to create the conditions for reform of the security services.
It also called on the security forces, in particular the military, to fulfil their commitment to abide by civilian control and called on both to implement current programmes for security sector reform on schedule.
Mr. Ban had warned in his report that the important progress made in the country could rapidly be compromised unless “drastic changes” are made to advance crucial reforms, including the reform of the defence and security sectors, and to stabilize the country.
In its presidential statement, the Council also expressed serious concern about the continued growth in drug trafficking and organized crime, which threatens peace and security in Guinea-Bissau and in the wider region.
It called on the authorities in Guinea-Bissau to create the necessary environment to ensure that actions to tackle these threats are effective.
Last week Joseph Mutaboba, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau, told the Council that while recent events have spotlighted the fragility of efforts to consolidate stability, the country’s challenges can be overcome if they are tackled immediately.