The EU SSR Guinea-Bissau Mission completes its mandate

Council of the EU The EU’s security sector reform mission in Guinea-Bissau (EU SSR Guinea-Bissau), having completed its mandate, will close down on 30 September 2010. Launched in June 2008, the mission has provided advice and assistance to the local authorities on security sector reform (SSR) in Guinea-Bissau. The mission, which was conducted under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), notably assisted Guinea-Bissau in developing a complete package of basic laws and some secondary legislation. The Guinea-Bissau authorities now have a solid legal framework to start implementing the national SSR strategy, restructure the Armed Forces and establish new police bodies. Specific projects have also been prepared, in cooperation with the European Commission and other international stakeholders, and are now ready to be presented to international donors for funding.

Although the mission has achieved significant results, political instability and the lack of respect for the rule of law in the country make it impossible for the EU to deploy a follow- up mission, as originally foreseen, without compromising its own principles.

Following the mutiny of April 2010, the EU repeatedly expressed its concern regarding the violation of constitutional order, illegal detention of civilian and military leaders and impunity of perpetrators. The EU intensified its political dialogue with the Guinea-Bissau authorities and asked for clear signs of commitment to the principles of the rule of law. The recent nomination of General Antonio Indjai to the post of Chief of Defence Staff constitutes another setback to the process of democratic consolidation and confirms that the conditions for deployment of the new mission are not met.

The EU remains firmly committed to security, stability and peace in Guinea-Bissau. It will join forces with other stakeholders, notably with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN, and continue to accompany security sector reform with an appropriate set of instruments, on the basis of national ownership and accountability. Nevertheless, the EU is convinced that its support to Guinea Bissau must be matched by an unequivocal commitment on the part of the national authorities to a real respect of democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law.

Read more:

A BBC analysis of how the EU’s pullback is likely to impact on violence and drug trafficking in the country.

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