Statement by the Sierra Leone Configuration of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission
The Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission welcomes the progress made by the government and people of Sierra Leone in the consolidation of peace and stability in their country.
The international community views the 17 November 2012 elections as a significant milestone in the country's peace consolidation efforts and has high expectations that they will be conducted in a peaceful, transparent, and credible manner, thereby serving as an example for the region and beyond.
The Peacebuilding Commission strongly believes that the political parties have a serious responsibility to safeguard the progress made since the end of the civil war and to contribute their part to the successful conduct of the forthcoming elections. The Peacebuilding Commission welcomes the signing and dissemination of the 18 May 2012 Declaration which outlines clear principles for political competition encourages the political parties to fully respect those principles. The Peacebuilding Commission takes note of the relatively calm election campaign to date. The Peacebuilding Commission commends the important role non-State actors, such as the National Commission for Democracy, are playing in ensuring fair and transparent elections free of violence.
The Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission urges all national stakeholders, and especially the political parties, to continue making use of existing mechanisms for dialogue and dispute resolution to bridge political differences and to prevent violence. In that respect, the role of the Electoral Offences Court will be vital for resolution of electoral related complaints and timely acceptance of the results.
The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) will continue to play an increasingly pivotal role during the next few weeks and has already demonstrated its ability to promote inter-party dialogue, manage political tensions, and ensure adherence to the political party code conduct. The PBC urges all political parties to continue their cooperation with the PPRC.
The biometric voter registration process has helped to enhance the transparency and credibility of the elections and will greatly facilitate the conduct of future elections. The National Electoral Commission and its international partners should be commended for their outstanding work in this respect and should continue to ensure that voters and political parties are kept well informed of the ongoing electoral process.
The Peacebuilding Commission emphasizes that the primary responsibility for the conduct of a fair, free, credible and transparent elections rests with the people of Sierra Leone, their government, electoral management bodies, and political parties. Other stakeholders, such as non-State actors, including the media, youth and women associations, interfaith groups and traditional authorities, also have an important role in that regard.
In view of the above, the Peacebuilding Commission calls on all national stakeholders to ensure that the forthcoming elections are conducted in a peaceful and impartial manner to enable the country to overcome the legacy of conflict and create an enabling environment for economic development and prosperity.
The Peacebuilding Commission stands ready to continue its support to the government and people of Sierra Leone as Sierra Leone prepares for its landmark elections and in their arduous task of building a democratic and prosperous nation.
New York, 15 November 2012