The Security Council today lifted the arms embargo and other sanctions it imposed on Sierra Leone more than 12 years ago during the civil war that left at least 75,000 people dead and many more maimed.
The Council’s decision to end the sanctions set out in resolution 1171 of 1998 comes just weeks after the Government of Sierra Leone requested that the measures be lifted.
In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body recalled its readiness to terminate the measures “once the control of the Government of Sierra Leone has been fully re-established over all its territory, and when all non-governmental forces have been disarmed and demobilized.”
In a separate decision, the Council extended the mandate of the Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) for another year, until 15 September 2011.
Established in 2008 to continue UN efforts to boost peace in the West African nation, the Office is tasked with providing political advice, as well as monitoring and promoting human rights, and helping to train national police and security forces and strengthen democratic institutions.
The Council decided that UNIPSIL, in the upcoming year, under the so-called Joint Vision of the UN system, should focus on assisting the Government with preparations for the 2012 elections, conflict prevention and mitigation, efforts to tackle youth unemployment, and promoting good governance, the rule of law and human rights, among other areas.
It also called on the Government, with the support of UNIPSIL, and others to step up efforts to combat corruption, improve accountability, and promote the development of the private sector to generate wealth and employment opportunities.
In his latest report on UNIPSIL, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited youth unemployment as one of the biggest hurdles facing the country, noting that “immense challenges” remain in generating jobs for young people, especially in the current economic climate.
He called for international investment to help tackle a situation in which some 800,000 young people are currently unemployed, employed without remuneration or underemployed.