November 2010 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 October 2010
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Guinea-Bissau

Expected Council Action

The Council is expected to consider Guinea-Bissau in November. There will be a report of the Secretary-General on UNIOGBIS, and the head of the UN office, Joseph Mutaboba, may brief the Council. The mandate of UNIOGBIS expires on 31 December. It seems likely that the Council will take action to renew UNIOGBIS in November (ahead of schedule) in order to alleviate the Council’s heavy December workload.

Key Recent Developments
The Government of Guinea-Bissau’s external relations became further strained in June when President Malam Bacai Sanha appointed the leader of the 1 April military insurrection, General Antonio Indjai, as the head of the country’s armed forces. (Indjai, who had previously been the deputy armed forces chief, had assumed de facto charge of the army following the insurrection and before being formally appointed armed forces chief.)

On 2 July the heads of states in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressed concern about the appointment of Indjai as head of Guinea-Bissau’s armed forces. They urged Guinea-Bissau’s authorities to create the necessary environment to enable ECOWAS to resume its efforts at mobilising bilateral and multilateral partners to support the effective takeoff of the security sector reform (SSR) programme in the country.

The US on 15 July called for global sanctions against former navy chief Bubo Na Tchuto and the current Air Force Chief of Staff, Ibraima Papa Camara, for alleged involvement in drug trafficking. (On 9 April the US, acting under its Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, accused the two men of similar allegations, froze their US assets and proscribed US citizens’ engagement in business with the two.)

On 15 July, Mutaboba briefed the Council on developments. He indicated that while his previous report had envisaged progress in 2010, based on positive economic developments and perceived commitment to reform in the country, the events of 1 April had highlighted the extreme fragility of the peacebuilding process and its vulnerability to reversals.

The minister for foreign affairs of Guinea-Bissau, Adelino Mano Queta, also participated in the meeting and said the briefings illustrated the complexity and seriousness of the problems facing his country. He assured the Council of Guineans’ commitment to placing the country on the path to durable peace and stability and urged continued engagement in the process by international partners.

The Ambassador of Brazil, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, in her capacity as the chair of the Guinea-Bissau Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) configuration, stated that while the PBC remained committed to peace consolidation in the country its engagement was based on the principle of mutual accountability. Consolidating democratic institutions was critical to ensuring durable peace and stability.

On 22 July the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing concern about the prevailing security situation and threats to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau. It called on the government to release immediately all those detained in the events of 1 April or prosecute them with full respect for due process.

The EU indicated on 2 August that it will end its SSR mission, launched in June 2008, by November because of the deterioration in the rule of law in the country. It indicated, however, that the mission could resume under certain circumstances, including the release or prosecution of those detained in the events of 1 April. (The detainees include the former armed forces chief of staff, Zamora Induta, and about a dozen of his perceived, mostly military, allies.)

On 17 August the National Assembly held a session to discuss a possible national dialogue to include political parties, the military, unions and civil society organisations. During the meeting, President Sanha said that the citizenry was not proud of being perceived as incapable of solving their national problems. The Assembly’s meeting anticipated the convening of a national reconciliation conference in January 2011.

On 19 September an ECOWAS summit meeting was held in Abuja to consider the political situation in Guinea-Bissau. The meeting called for the resumption of international support for reforming the country’s security sector by the EU and the US.

On 4 October, President Sanha formally wrote to ECOWAS requesting support and assistance to re-launch the reform of his country’s defence and security sectors.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 1 October, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Guinea-Bissau. The government confirmed that of the 108 recommendations made, 103 had been accepted and were being implemented. Five were rejected. Guinea-Bissau accepted the need to humanise prisons and improve the education system. It also indicated its preparedness to criminalise practices linked to female genital mutilation once it had conducted a campaign to illustrate the harmful effects of these practices, something that it believed had to be dealt with gradually. In the HRC’s discussion on Guinea-Bissau, speakers welcomed the commitment to improving the human rights situation through the UPR. Guinea-Bissau was urged to work with regional and other international partners to reform the security sector and to ensure primacy of the civilian government and the rule of law.

 

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council will be assessing the UN integrated mission’s role in Guinea-Bissau over the past ten months in light of recent developments on the ground.

A related issue is deciding on how best to assist in achieving sustainable peace consolidation in Guinea-Bissau, given the pattern of destabilising military interventions in the country’s contemporary history.

Another issue is that of how best to ensure that the culture of impunity perpetuated by military insurrectionists—resulting in the highly fragile security and political situation—is curbed. A related issue is how to prompt the Government of Guinea-Bissau to commit to the rule of law including by releasing all those detained in the events of 1 April or prosecuting them.

Another issue is the energy threats to national stability and regional peace and security posed by drug trafficking, as well as organised crime, which threatens the subregion.

Underlying Problems
Institutional weakness remains uncorrected resulting in military insubordination to civilian leadership and critical socioeconomic challenges reflected in dire development gaps. Illicit drug trafficking and cross-border organised crime have continued to threaten effective peace consolidation in the country.

Options
Options for the Council include:

  • renewing the mandate of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), without modifications;
  • modifying the mandate of UNIOGBIS by authorising the mission to engage more proactively in preventive diplomacy activities, in improving the local current political context and the process of consolidating peace;
  • conveying resolve to address more directly some of the major underlying issues, and to this end deciding to include clear language in the new mandate and to send a small Council follow-up mission to Guinea-Bissau; and
  • approving the Secretary-General’s recommendation in his 29 September 2008 report to “take strong action and…consider establishing a panel of experts to investigate the identity and activities of those involved in drug trafficking and organised crime in Guinea-Bissau, with the possibility of taking measures, including punitive, targeted sanctions that would help reverse the current disturbing growth in the drug trafficking crisis in the country.”

 

Council Dynamics
Council members continue to be frustrated with the repeated setbacks to consolidating peace and ensuring sustainable democracy in Guinea-Bissau. Most members seem likely to favour a renewal of and retention of the main elements of UNIOGBIS’s mandate, but remain open to examining further options for better-tuning it to the current needs of the situation. Members are comfortable with an early adoption as a Council workload management measure.

Nigeria is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

 

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1876 S/RES/1876 (26 June 2009) renewed the mandate of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea Bissau (UNIOGBIS) until 31 December 2009 and requested the Secretary-General to establish UNIOGBIS beginning on 1 January 2010 for an initial period of 12 months.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2010/15 (22 July 2010) expressed concern at the prevailing security situation in Guinea-Bissau and stressed the need for genuine security sector reform in the country.
  • S/PRST/2009/29 S/PRST/2009/29 (5 November 2009) welcomed the planning for the transition of UNOGBIS to UNIOGBIS.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/208 S/2008/208 (25 March 2008) was from the chairperson of the PBC to the president of the Security Council providing advice on peacebuilding priorities for Guinea-Bissau.
  • S/2008/87 S/2008/87 (28 December 2007) was from the chair of the PBC informing the president of the Council about the placement of Guinea-Bissau on the PBC’s agenda.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2010/335 S/2010/335 (24 June 2010) was the latest report of the Secretary-General.
  • S/2008/628 S/2008/628 (29 September 2008) contained the Secretary-General’s proposal that a panel of experts be set up to investigate the identity and activities of those involved in drug trafficking and organised crime in Guinea-Bissau with the possibility of taking measures, including sanctions, to curb those activities.

Other

  • S/PV.6359 (15 July 2010) was the Council briefing by the head of UNIOGBIS.
  • SC/9900 (1 April 2010) was a press statement issued by the Council expressing concern about the military developments in Guinea-Bissau.

 

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNIOGBIS

Joseph Mutaboba (Rwanda)

Duration

1 January 2010 to present; mandate expires on 31 December 2010.

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