U.N. Group Reports on Progress in Sierra Leone

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RAPAPORT…  Sierra Leone’s economic prospects are “hopeful,” a senior United Nations peacekeeping official told the Security Council yesterday.

“However, this will require the government making tough economic and political decisions and implementing policies that promote transparency and accountability,” assistant secretary general Dmitry Titov said. “It will require sacrifice and patience on the part of Sierra Leoneans as the country continues its journey towards full economic recovery.”

Titov, who works for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, briefed the Council on the work of the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL,) and said that political and security situation is “generally calm.” But he pointed out that there have been several violent incidents involving supporters of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP.)

In July, the country will hold local council elections, which the official characterized as “another major step towards enhancing its democratic process.”

Titov said that tensions between APC and SLPP supporters will rise in the run-up to the polls, and noted that UNIOSIL is working with many groups on the ground for a peaceful election.

Surging staple commodities and fuel prices have led to shortages and resulted in growing dissatisfaction amongst residents.

In his most recent report on the UN mission to Sierra Leone, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that UNIOSIL will withdraw in September and recommended that it be replaced by a UN integrated peacebuilding office, to be known as UNIPSIL, which “holistically addresses the political, economic and peacebuilding challenges facing the country.”

Representatives of Sierra Leone’s government and civil society were taking part in a UN-backed meeting this week on the country’s reporting obligations to global human rights treaty monitoring bodies. The event included a two-day training scheme led by UNIOSIL to improve understanding of the international laws and the reporting process.


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