Statement by Ambassador Günter Sautter in the UN Security Council meeting on UNIOGBIS, August 10, 2020

10.08.2020 - Speech

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First of all, I wish to extend condolences after the heinous attacks in Niamey. I would like to thank the briefers for their insights from Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission Configuration in Guinea-Bissau, as well as the briefing by Gada Fathi Waly of UNODC, which I hope will play an even more prominent role in the future.

At this last regular Security Council session before its drawdown, we would like to thank UNIOGBIS for all the work done over the past 21 years. Above all, I'd like to extend warm thanks to Rosine Sori-Coulibaly and her team. We're happy that the office will continue to provide its expertise in supporting the full implementation of the Conakry agreement, as well as ECOWAS' six point roadmap.

Mr. President, the drawdown of the mission does not imply that we can be satisfied with the situation in Guinea-Bissau. This situation continues to be of concern for three reasons. Firstly, we regret that the political crisis resulting from last year's peaceful presidential elections still remains unsolved. But the Covid-19 pandemic, a functioning government and trustworthy institutions are more important than ever. Continued work is necessary.

Secondly, we are deeply concerned by the reports of violence and threats against political actors. We have noted what Rosine has just reported. Respect for human rights and basic freedoms are not negotiable. They have to be respected at all times and without preconditions.

Thirdly, to achieve stability in the country, all stakeholders have to act responsibly and in accordance with the Constitution. This includes the security forces. A lack of neutrality displayed by the military by occupying state institutions is clearly not in line with this requirement.

Mr. President, any sustainable solution to the political crisis needs to involve all political actors. Particularly civil society needs to play a central role. This includes the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all stages of the political and peacebuilding process. In this context, we commend the efforts by UNIOGBIS to engage with women representatives and to adopt a gender-sensitive approach in their work. Still, a lot remains to be done. Above all, we need to end impunity for gender-based crimes and human rights violations.

Mr President, with the drawdown of the mission on the horizon, we appreciate the transition process continuing despite the additional challenges posed by the political tensions and the pandemic.

An active and coordinated role of other United Nations presences and regional organizations, especially ECOWAS, remains crucial to avoid destabilization. Cooperation of the Group of 5, the Peacebuilding Commission country configuration and the support provided by the Peacebuilding Fund need to continue. Regional cooperation is also paramount for addressing transnational organized crime and drug trafficking precisely because of their grave implications for the stability of the entire region. Indications that political and military personnel are involved in these illegal businesses are appalling and need to be followed up on. We should also bear this in mind when we discuss the future of the sanctions here at the Security Council. We support the important work of UNODC and UNIOGBIS to support and empower national law enforcement authorities to effectively prosecute organised crime.

Mr President, let me close by welcoming the efforts by UNIOGBIS as well as ECOWAS to foster dialogue and to overcome the political tensions. Yes, national ownership remains a central requirement for real progress, but we need to and we will uphold international attention to this crisis. Enacting the critical reforms envisioned in the Conakry agreement and the ECOWAS roadmap is a crucial first step.

Thank you.


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