RAPAPORT… Sierra Leone must work to maintain all that it has achieved since the transitional period that followed its brutal civil war one decade ago, a United Nations (UN) official has said.
Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, the Secretary-General’s executive representative in Sierra Leone, praised the country for the progress it has achieved since 2002 and told the UN Security Council that since the end of the conflict, the country has managed to restore and consolidate state authority, implement national recovery programs, including through the extension of public services and it has also undertaken reforms in the governance and security sector.
“The strong commitment of the people of Sierra Leone and its successive post-conflict governments has been indispensable to the achievements made by the country and to the successful work of the United Nations over the last 15 years,” Toyberg-Frandzen said in his presentation of the Secretary-General’s report on the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIPSIL).
Sierra Leone’s civil war was characterized by extreme acts of brutality, with rebel forces attempting to overthrow then President Joseph Mooh. In November 2012, the country successfully held national presidential, parliamentary and local council elections, the third since the end of the country’s civil war, and the second since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) in December 2005. UNIPSIL consequently replaced the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and focuses on political and development activities.
Toyberg-Frandzen did warn, however, that institutions that underpin the democratic process such as the National Electoral Commission, need to be strengthened. The state must also make sure that it has an inclusive government system that addresses the root causes of the conflict, including ethnic tensions.
“It is essential that the planned constitutional review be an inclusive process that ensures the buy-in of all key stakeholders,” he said, adding that it essential to get the transition right by scaling up the support of the UN and the international community for the country’s continued development.