18 June 2013 Managing Libya’s democratic transition is bound to be difficult given the legacy of decades of brutal rule, a senior United Nations envoy told the Security Council today, adding that the country could benefit from a national political dialogue on the way forward.
“The political and security challenges that now face the country may well be the legacy of decades of authoritarian rule, dysfunctional state institutions and confusion around political norms,” Tarek Mitri, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, said in his briefing to the Council.
“This reality invites a national political dialogue that seeks consensus on the priorities for the transitional period,” he said, adding that the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has provided Government officials with advice on issues and modalities of such a dialogue.
UNSMIL, headed by Mr. Mitri, has been supporting the efforts of the Libyan Government and people to ensure the success of the democratic transition process, which has been under way since the toppling of Muammar al-Qadhafi two years ago.
The former leader ruled the North African country for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising in 2011 – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.
“The risks in Libya should not be underestimated, and by the same token, the opportunities should not be overlooked,” said Mr. Mitri. “Judging by the speed with which last year’s elections to the General National Congress took place so soon after the cessation of hostilities, we would be forgiven if we thought that the road to democracy was as simple as it appeared.
“As important as these elections may have been in ushering in the beginnings of a new political process and the building of legitimate State institutions, the Libyan people will continue to endure for the foreseeable future the heavy legacy bequeathed to them over decades of brutal rule,” he added. “Managing the transition is bound, therefore, to be difficult.”
On the security and political challenges, Mr. Mitri cited the treatment of detainees, border security, the continuing weak state of security sector institutions, and effectively tackling threats emanating from the south of the country.
He also noted the recent violence in Benghazi, which led to “considerable” loss of life, as well as concerns over the recently adopted law on political isolation, which demands the exclusion of figures associated with the former regime and others who had committed human rights violations from public office.
“We believe many of the criteria for exclusion are arbitrary, far-reaching, at times vague, and are likely to violate the civil and political rights of large numbers of individuals,” said the Special Representative.
Speaking to reporters after the Council session, the envoy stressed that Libya needs much more political support from international partners since some of its problems, such as border security, are not ones the country can face alone.
Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45206&Cr=libya&Cr1=
10 June 2013 Senior United Nations officials today expressed concern about reports of dozens of children who escaped from the 23 March Movement (M23) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo being retaken by the rebel group and could face other serious security threats.
The UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict today cited in a news release reports indicating that at least 53 children are at risk of being re-recruited in Nyiragongo Territory, North Kivu Province, in eastern DRC.
The M23 rebel group is made up of former members of the Congolese armed forces, known by the French acronym FARDC, who mutinied in April 2012.
“I strongly condemn the recruitment and use of children as well as other grave child rights violations committed by the M23 and other armed groups,” said Roger Meece, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC.
In the joint news release, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, urged the M23 and other armed groups to “immediately stop abusing children.”
“I want to remind their leaders that they will be personally held accountable for any violations against children, including the recruitment, re-recruitment or use of children in their ranks, Ms. Zerrougui added.
The children are apparently part of a group of at least 70 people recruited in Nyiragongo and Rutshuru territories.
“They escaped from the rebel group during clashes between Bosco Ntanganda and Sultani Makenga’s factions in February 2013. Since then, 17 have reportedly fled the area while the remaining 53 are still in hiding in several locations,” according to MONUSCO.
The UN Mission added that it continues to receive “worrying reports” that members of the M23 are meeting local chiefs and requesting them to identify and handover combatants who have deserted from the group.
In the statement, MONUSCO said that it is doing its utmost to access these children to ensure their protection and reunite them with their families.
Mr. Meece and Ms. Zerrougui reiterate their joint commitment to ensure the full protection of children affected by the armed conflict in the east of the country in collaboration with the Government, the UN and non-governmental organization partners.
22 May 2013 A United Nations envoy today convened a consultative meeting in the Guinean capital, Conakry, between the Prime Minister and opposition leaders, pressing ahead with UN efforts to assist the parties in resolving differences over preparations for stalled legislative elections and other contentious issues through peaceful means.
Said Djinnit, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa, initiated the meeting in his capacity as International Facilitator on Guinea, a UN spokesperson said.
The envoy congratulated the two parties for this “initial promising step” towards creating the conditions for the holding of free, transparent and peaceful legislative elections in Guinea.
In March, protests in the West African nation related to the polls led to several deaths and hundreds of injuries. At that time, both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN human rights office appealed for calm amid the violence and urged political actors in Guinea to pursue dialogue to create conditions for peaceful elections.
“Mr. Djinnit continues to urge the Guinean stakeholders to address their differences over the electoral process through peaceful means and to act in accordance with the ‘anti-violence declaration’ signed by the Government and the political parties on 24 April,” said the spokesperson.
Further, the Special Representative hopes that the situation “will continue to remain calm in line with the spirit that prevailed during today’s consultative meeting.”