Civilian military leaders must do more to bring stability to GuineaBissau –

5 November 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged both the civilian and military leadership in Guinea-Bissau to show commitment to achieving long-lasting stability in the West African country, and to restore the rule of law by fighting impunity and curbing organized crime. In his latest report on Guinea-Bissau to the Security Council, covering the four months since 24 June, Mr. Ban also called on the Guinea-Bissau’s leadership to forge a national consensus on the best way to ensure the stabilization for the country.Guinea-Bissau has been beset by coups and political instability since it became an independent country in the early 1970s. The United Nations has an integrated peacebuilding office on the ground, UNOGBIS, tasked with helping to promote stability.In April, troops under the command of the then-Deputy Chief of General Staff, Major General António N´djai, took control of the armed forces’ headquarters, detaining the Chief of General Staff, Vice Admiral José Zamora Induta, and briefly holding Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Júnior.“Established laws must be applied and fundamental principles of the rule of law, such as the duty to ensure fair legal proceedings and the right to defence, must be respected,” the Secretary-General wrote, while also noting that the consequences of the events of 1 April, such as reduced donor support, confirm that political and security instability can have a major negative impact on economic prospects.Presenting the Secretary-General’s report to the Council today, his Special Representative for Guinea-Bissau, Joseph Mutaboba, said the failure to release Vice Admiral Induta, as ordered by the military court, demonstrated the continued dominance of the military leadership over the judiciary.“It will undoubtedly increase the reluctance of some international partners to engage with the authorities of Guinea-Bissau as it underlines the lack of civilian oversight over the armed forces and the existing environment of impunity in the country,” Mr. Mutaboba told Council members.In his report, Mr. Ban also pointed out that drug trafficking and organized crime continue to pose a serious risk to the stability of Guinea-Bissau and to the West African sub-region as a whole. He said that while the authorities of Guinea-Bissau should continue to demonstrate, through concrete action, their commitment to tackling this phenomenon – the international community also had a role to play.“There is a need for the international community to step up efforts to fight this menace in all its aspects and, in particular, to enhance national and regional capacities to do so,” the Secretary-General wrote.On the economic front, despite the country’s challenging political and security situation, Mr. Ban noted that the Government of Guinea-Bissau has continued to make encouraging economic recovery efforts, including steps that would make it eligible for international debt forgiveness under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, and he encouraged the authorities to continue pursuing economic and fiscal reform.

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