April 9, 2009 – Guinea-Bissau: Security Council welcomes upcoming polls
UN News Centre - The Security Council today welcomed the convening of presidential polls in Guinea-Bissau this June, following last month's assassination of the West African nation's leader, calling for continued international support for the election process.
In a presidential statement read out by Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico, which holds the rotating Council presidency for the month, the 15-member body also welcomed the swearing-in of M. Raimundo Pereira, the Interim President, and the commitment of the new authorities to uphold the country's constitutional order. President João Bernardo Vieira and his Chief of General Staff, General Batista Tagme Na Waie, were killed in early March. This past November, renegade military elements attacked the residence of Mr. Vieira but he survived the attack, which occurred just one week after legislative elections were staged in a peaceful and orderly manner. Today's statement called on "the international community to support the Commission of Inquiry established to investigate the assassinations of the President and of the Chief of Staff of the Armed forces." It also condemned "recent cases of arbitrary detentions, armed attacks and intimidation," urging the Armed Forces leadership to ensure that its commitment to follow civilian authorities and respect constitutional order is fully honoured. "A sound commission of inquiry is essential to end the cycles of violence and impunity in the country," Joseph Mutaboba, the Secretary-General's Special Representative, told the Council yesterday. He noted that the Prosecutor General has expressed concerns about the lack of security for members and witnesses against threats and intimidation, and over the lack of cooperation from the military with regard to information exchange on the inquiry into the killing of their Chief of Staff. In addition, the military commission detained a number of military and civilians. According to the Guinea-Bissau League of Human Rights, some of the detainees show signs of physical mistreatment, the Special Representative reported. Describing the security environment in the country as "volatile," Mr. Mutaboba called on the Council to send a signal to the Government and the security forces that they are responsible for protecting and upholding the human rights of the people of Guinea-Bissau.