Salone News

Angelo Vows to Boost Democracy, Human Rights

4 January 2006 at 03:49 | 450 views

The head of a new United Nations mission in Sierra Leone, Victor Angelo, says on Tuesday that his mandate is to strengthen democracy and stability in the diamond-rich west African country, where a decade-long conflict left at least 120 000 people dead.

The UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), which replaced the last mission known as UNAMSIL on January 1, would oversee the consolidation of peace and help the country prepare for general elections due next year.

It also planned to set up a reconciliation unit modelled on the lines of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Independent judiciary

Angelo said: "Strengthening democracy and advancing human rights through the establishment of a National Human Rights Commission that will consider the key recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, will pave the way forward for Sierra Leone.

"UNIOSIL will enhance the rule of law, including the development of an independent judiciary and ensuring that the security forces have the conditions to perform their constitutional role".

The Portuguese-born diplomat said good governance, transparency, accountability and eradication of corruption were key factors to enhancing confidence between Sierra Leone and the international community.

Pillar of stability

He said: "With peace and prosperity, Sierra Leone will become a pillar of stability in the region."

In 2001, the UN mission in Sierra Leone was ranked the world’s largest peacekeeping force with 17 500 personnel.

The newly installed UN security council-backed Integrated Mission included a small group of military and police advisors, and a contingent of troops to safeguard the UN war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone.

Some 165 UN military and civilian personnel were killed restoring peace to the country whose 5.4 million people were among the world’s poorest.

Source: News 24

Photo: Angelo(left) and Kofi Annan