UN underscores the need for reaffirmation of Guinea-Bissau stakeholders commitment to implement SSR
23 June 2010 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau today underscored the need for the country's political and military authorities to reaffirm engagement to implement Security Sector Reform (SSR), at the same time as he assured the continuing support of the international community for the process.
"For Guinea-Bissau international partners, it is clear that the continuity of the reform process and its support require both a renewable engagement from political and military authorities to carry out these reforms, and the establishment of mechanisms and stakeholders committed to advancing the process", SRSG Joseph Mutaboba said at the opening ceremony of the International SSR sensitization seminar, organized by Guinea-Bissau government and sponsored by the UN Peacebuilding Integrated Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), with the participation of both national stakeholders and international partners.
SRSG Mutaboba said that the events of 1st April 2010 underscored the need to carry out a real implementation of SSR and stressed that the reform should not be seen as "a punishment or a reward" but a necessary condition for ensuring peace, security and development. In addition to the professionalization of the Armed Forces, he also explained that SSR will pave the way for establishing more effective mechanisms to combat drug trafficking and organized crime.
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony, Malam Bacai Sanha, President of Guinea-Bissau, called on the UN, European Union, African Union, the West Africa Economic Community (ECOWAS), the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP) and other partners to continue their support to SSR implementation.
"SSR implementation faced delays for many reasons, including the weakness of State institutions and the country social, economical and financial difficulties", President Sanha said, recalling the importance of the SSR for Guinea-Bissau. The President also reaffirmed his country's commitment to combat drug trafficking and organized crime.
The two-day International seminar brought together national stakeholders, including the Government; representatives of the Defence, Security and Jusice sectors; civil society organizations; as well as international partners in discussions, debates and technical consultations on SSR priorities, strategies, programs and partnerships aimed at accelerating the reform. The SRSG for West Africa, Said Djinnit and ECOWAS commissioner for peace and security, colonel Mahamane Touré attended the opening ceremony.