Most Bissau-Guineans want UNIOGBIS to be more active rather than staying “in the shadow”

Most Bissau-Guineans outside the capital maintain that UNIOGBIS has played its part, but the context is increasingly changing. Therefore, they believe that the Office should have a new mandate and a more interventive attitude and “not stay in the shadow”.

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24 Aug 2017

Most Bissau-Guineans want UNIOGBIS to be more active rather than staying “in the shadow”

This is the view of citizens in the regions outside the capital the country, especially Buba and Bafatá, in relation to another UN Secretary-General's Semiannual Report on the situation in Guinea-Bissau and the implementation of UNIOGBIS mandate in this country, which the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau, Modibo Touré, will present to the Security Council on 24 August in New York.

The Report is submitted pursuant to Security Council Resolution 2343 (of 2017), which extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office for Peacebuilding in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS) until February 28, 2018, and requested the Secretary-General every six months on the situation in Guinea-Bissau and the progress made in implementing the resolution and the mandate of UNIOGBIS to the Council.

The report provides an update on key policy developments, security, human rights, socio-economic and humanitarian development in Guinea-Bissau since the last one presented on February 7, 2017.

UNIOGBIS mandate includes, among others, the promotion of an inclusive national political dialogue. In this context, a huge effort was made to promote political dialogue, during which the Office did everything to bring the parties to the table and even contributed to the signing of the Agreements of Bissau and Conakry, whose implementation Continues to be requested mainly by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the United Nations (UN).

Parallel to these efforts, the Women's Dialogue Facilitator Group has emerged in the past two months to end the political crisis, which seems to persist in all attempts at peace and socio-economic development.

Fatumata Djau Baldé, the interim coordinator of the Women's Facilitators Dialogue initiative to end the political crisis in Guinea-Bissau, explained that the group emerged from an initiative of women from different civil society organizations and political parties to try to give its modest contribution to the resolution of the crisis. "Our actions have been facilitated by UNIOGBIS," she said.

The activist expressed her satisfaction "for the trust deposited in the group by both internal and external stakeholders", which managed to bring parts of the national political chess with positions that seemed irreconcilable.

"UNIOGBIS should have a new mandate, a more active attitude and not be in the shade. This is what most Guineans want right now. Of course it is a sovereign country, it has its own authorities, that's fine. But we are part of the world, we are part of a system of values. Democracy is a value accepted by all, but it has its own rules. And when break the rules, the people who are here to watch over its application and help us solve our problems should have the courage to say, 'No! There is a mistake here! '. That is why I say that the mandate of UNIOGBIS will have to be reviewed, "added Seco, in Buba, South of the country.

Braima, a citizen from Quebo village, said that the role of the United Nations in this conflict should be stronger than what is currently occurring in the country. Because, he added, "if we see, we find that more than 80 percent of those who call political leaders are directly or indirectly involved in this conflict."

"In my view, the United Nations should ensure that Bissau-Guineans, especially political leaders, comply with all international standards, with democratic rules so that the country can finally move forward. This would involve accountability of public acts and actions and the restoration of democratic order, "he said.

"We think that the United Nations, as a family of nations of which Guinea-Bissau is a member, should not stay idle for several years watching situation in which the country is. They must put an end to this situation as they have done in other countries. If by chance they have no other way to end the crisis, please facilitate dialogue or early elections,  to put an end to the whole situation, "said another citizen in Bafata.

The idea is shared by a young cadre in Buba for whom "the action of the United Nations in relation to the crisis has been a little slow," adding that the organization “should adopt a more imposing standing and not just say: Well , the problem is between you, therefore, talk. The UN must impose, above all, to be a firm arbiter for the truth, and to stop saying just dialogue”.