On 3 April 2014, the members of the Security Council met in closed consultations around the Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Feltman to hear its update on the electoral process in Guinea-Bissau.
The Representative of France noted a gap between the pre-electoral period that was held without major incident and a campaign of intimidation carried out by the army. The Special Representative of the Secretary General, the ECOWAS and the European Union would play a central role in supporting and accompanying the Guinean authorities to guarantee a free, transparent and peaceful election process
On 26 February 2014, Mr. Ramos Horta, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOGBIS, presented to the Security Council, by VTC, the report of the Secretary-General on the return to constitutional order in Guinea. Ambassador Patriota, Chairman of the Peacebuilding Commission gave his strategy for the Peacebuilding Commission reengagement in the country. The Permanent Representatives of Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Côte d’Ivoire were also present.
On a political level, Mr. Horta mentioned the internal crisis between the businessman Mr. Camara and Mr. Pereira, now Chairman of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC), for the party presidency. General elections had been postponed many times in order to ensure they would take place in good technical conditions. The voter registration process had been very successful, with 95% of voters registered. The first round of the presidential and legislative elections would take place on 13 April 2014. Mr. Horta welcomed contributions from ECOWAS, EU, Nigeria and Timor-Leste, which would also finance the next step of the electoral process. Further efforts had to be made to reach consider post-electoral transition. The fight against impunity and the protection of Human Rights had made little progress, a general feeling of insecurity was ongoing and the socio-economic and humanitarian situations had further deteriorated. The international community had a role to play to help the country. Mr. Patriota recalled that the modernization of the defense and security sectors was complex and would require substantial political dialogue, as well as a Government reform as a whole. He announced three medium-term objectives: completion of the democratic cycle with a transfer of authority to elected governments, encourage progress of socio-economic indicators with a humanitarian emphasis, create a coordinated platform for international support to the modernization of the security sector.
During the consultations that followed, the Permanent representative of France urged the Council to maintain pressure for free, transparent and inclusive elections and reaffirmed its support for the work of ECOWAS and for the strengthening of the ECOWAS Mission in Guinea-Bissau, ECOMIB. The establishment of improved command and control within the army would constitute the first priority of the next government. Modernization of the defense and security sectors was of crucial importance. Finally, the climate of impunity showed the need to strengthen the justice sector and to keep perspectives of targeted sanctions.
Following these consultations, a press statement has been adopted by the Council.
On 9 December 2013, the existing chairs of the subsidiary bodies of the Council presented the results of their work.
The chairman of the sanctions committee 2048 on Guinea Bissau, permanent representative of Morocco, recalled that this committee was one of the few that did not have a panel of experts. It was also the only one to focus entirely on travel bans. The main challenge of this committee was access to information on the situation on the ground.
Following the meeting, the Security Council adopted a presidential statement.
On 26 November 2013, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. José Ramos-Horta, presented to the Security Council the Secretary-General report on the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau and on UNOGBIS activities. He expressed concerns about the new postponement of the elections until March 2014 and recalled that the organization of credible elections was a priority for the restoration of constitutional order. In order to ensure a climate of peace and security conducive to their holding, social tensions and a fragile humanitarian situation should be taken into account. In this regard, he deplored human rights violations including intimidation by the security forces. It was necessary to secure the electoral and post-electoral processes. Mr. Ramos-Horta finally indicated that the Office has provided $5 million from the Immediate Response Facility in order to cover urgent needs in pre-electoral period. He also continued its support activities to justice institutions and national authorities in order to combat drug trafficking and transnational organized crime.
During the consultations that followed, the Representative of France expressed concerns about the hardening of the security situation as a result of the security forces. He condemned the attack of the Nigerian embassy in October and the violence that followed. He supported the ECOWAS action and its contribution to the funding of the electoral process. Finally, he recalled that we had to put pressure on the Bissau Guinean authorities so that they fulfill their commitment for a return to constitutional order and recalled the Council’s attention in this regard.
The complete timeline of events here.
Guinea-Bissau suffers from institutional fragility, endemic corruption and drug trafficking undermines its economy. Drug trafficking is one of the country’s major problems – it has become a transshipment point from Latin America to the European Union. Guinea-Bissau’s geographical situation to the south of Senegal means that it is excluded from the illegal immigration control system which extends from Morocco to Senegal. In a presidential statement on 9 April 2009 (S/PRST/2009/6), the Security Council declared that it was “seriously concerned by the growth in illegal drug trafficking, as well as transnational organized crime in Guinea-Bissau and in the sub-region”.
Since the 1998-1999 armed conflict, the political situation in Guinea-Bissau has been characterized by frequent changes of government due to divisions within the political parties and tensions between the military and civilian authorities. President Kumba Yala was overthrown in a coup in September 2003, and after a two-year transition period João Bernardo Vieira was elected as his successor. In March 2009 he and the Chief of Staff were assassinated by soldiers, prompting a major political crisis. The Security Council condemned this double assassination “in the strongest terms” in a presidential statement on 3 March (S/PRST/2009/2). The situation deteriorated again in June 2009 when one of the candidates in the presidential elections, Baciro Dabó, was killed at his home by soldiers.
Despite this chaotic political background, the 2009 presidential elections took place without major incident. After the first ballot on 28 June, the Electoral Commission decided to organize a second round of voting on 26 July to decide between the two candidates still in the running: Malam Bacaï Sanha, a candidate from PAIGC, the largest party represented in parliament, and the former president Koumba Yala, who accepted defeat on 29 July, with Malam Bacaï Sanha being declared the winner with more than 63% of the votes.
Serious military incidents took place on 1 April 2010, including the temporary arrest of the Prime Minister and his release as well as the arrest of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Induta. He was replaced at the end of June 2010 by his deputy, General Antonio Indjai, who had contributed to the removal of his boss during the 1 April events.
In 2011, a number of positive developments contributed to
overall political stability in the country. The presence of the UN (see below) enabled the launch of the Security Sector Reform in Guinea-Bissau. In his report (17 June 2011), the Secretary-General noted a number of encouraging elements, also aknowledged by a press statement of the members of the Security Council (28 June 2011), particularly the strenghtening of national administration and internal security and the government’s efforts to promote national reconciliation.
However, the military seizure of 12 April 2012 put an end to the democratic process, with the arrest of Interim President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior. The coup occurred two weeks before the second round of the presidential election, which was to oppose Carlos Gomes Junior and Kumba Yala. Some opposition candidates, including Kumba Yala, had reported "massive fraud" in the first round and had announced they would not participate in the second round.
On 15 April, 2012, the military who took power and some parties of the former opposition announced the dissolution of institutions and the creation of a national transitional council "(CNT).
Presence of the UN
Guinea-Bissau is one of the five countries on the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) agenda. The Peacebuilding Fund allocated USD 6 million for short-term catalytic peacebuilding activities to a) improve the security and defense sector; b) improve the justice sector; c) create conditions and an environment conducive for political stability and socio-economic development; and d) improve democratic governance and participation.
The UN are present in Guinea-Bissau through the United Nations Peacebuilding Integrated Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS). It replaced the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (UNOGBIS) on January 2010 under a resolution of the Security Council (resolution 1876 of June 2009). This transition was characterized by an increase of UN presence on the ground, necessary given the country’s instability. The office is headed by Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda), Representative of the Secretary-General, since February 2009.
This new Office deals with four specific areas: politics, human rights, security sector reform (RSS) and public information. Its mandate focuses on the following areas (not included in UNOGBIS):
— Support for a national dialogue and reconciliation process;
— Support and assistance in developing and implementing security sector reform;
— Assistance with regard to combating trafficking, in particular drug trafficking and the trafficking of light weapons;
— Strengthening cooperation with regional organizations.
Through this resolution the Security Council also calls on the country’s government to conduct credible and transparent investigations into the series of political assassinations carried out in March and June 2009, and to bring to justice those responsible for these acts. It also calls on the international community to support these national investigations.
26 February 2014 - Security Council Press statement
9 December 2013 - Security Council adopted - Presidential statement
22 May 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2103, extending for one year UNOGBIS mandate.
22 February 2013 - Security Council - Resolution 2092 renewing for 3 months the mandate of UNOGBIS.
18 May 2012 - Security Council - Resolution 2048
21 April 2012 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
13 April 2012 - Security Council Press statement
21 December 2011 - Resolution 2030 - renewing the UNIOGBIS mandate until 28 February 2013
23 November 2010 - Resolution 1949 - renewing the UNIOGBIS mandate
22 July 2010 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
5 November 2009 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
26 June 2009 - Resolution 1876 on extension of the mandate of UNOGBIS and the establishment of the UNIOGBIS
9 April 2009 – Statement by the President of the Security Council
3 March 2009 – Statement by the President of the Security Council
15 October 2008 - Statement by the President of the Security Council
22 December 2004 - Resolution 1580 on extension of the mandate of UNOGBIS
6 April 1999 – Resolution 1233 on implementation of the Abuja agreement and on establishment of UNOGBIS
See file on the Peacebuilding Commission
Country file on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs