Sierra Leone Youth unemployment corruption must be curbed says Annan

In his first report to the Security Council on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), which became operational on 1 January after the mission had departed, Mr. Annan also highlights “growing concern” that the trials of the former fighting groups at the Special Court and the recent transfer of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to the Court could be a source of security incidents, although so far the situation is under control.Mr. Annan says he remains “seriously concerned” about potentially destabilizing conditions, citing in particular increasing youth unemployment, the dire economic situation and rampant corruption and mismanagement, as well as the increasing tension in areas along the border with Guinea.“I urge the Government, with support from its partners, to pay particular attention to these factors and introduce corrective measures expeditiously. Good governance and healthy economic policies and the continuation of major reforms should remain the long-term priority for Sierra Leone.”Mr. Annan also points out that next year’s elections will be a “major test of the sustainability of the peace and stability.” Not only must the polls be credible, they are also “crucial from the standpoint of the democratization and rejuvenation of the political and economic life” of the country.UNIOSIL is the first integrated UN office established to supportthe peace-consolidation process after the completion of a peacekeeping operation, and the Secretary-General says that so far this integration experiment has worked well in Sierra Leone.Further, despite the difficulties described in the report, which also include the need for the Government to “redouble its efforts” to stem corruption in the police force, Mr. Annan says he is “reasonably optimistic about the future of the country,” although he calls on the world community to remain actively involved.“The international community, which has invested considerable resources over the past seven years to end the war and consolidate the peace, needs to keep a close eye on some of the negative trends identified in this report, and continue to support the Government in addressing the many challenges that remain, in particular promoting economic recovery and good governance.”

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