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UN Security Council calls for constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau

The UN Security Council [official website] on Saturday urged immediate restoration of constitutional order [press release] in Guinea-Bissau [BBC backgrounder]. The presidential statement condemned the April 12 coup, during which the military took over the government, detained officials, including interim president Raimundo Pereira and former prime minister Carlos Gomes, and disrupted democratic presidential elections. The coup occurred two weeks prior to the second round of the presidential election between Gomes and former president Kumba Yala. The Security Council called for an end to violence in the country, release of Pereira, Gomes and others arbitrarily detained, and protection of human rights. The Security Council also threatened to take further action, such as imposing targeted economic sanctions, unless Guinea-Bissau takes corrective action immediately. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] will report on the situation in the country by the end of the month. Ban criticized the military shortly after the coup, urging restraint among parties involved and emphasizing the need for constitutional order [JURIST report] to be restored, leaders to be released and the election to be completed.

Guinea-Bissau has experienced instability, resulting in several coups, since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] hoped to prevent another coup when she urged [JURIST report] the people of Guinea-Bissau in March to refrain from any violence during the upcoming election. The same month, Ban asked the government, military and civilians to maintain order [text] during the elections. In 2010, the EU discontinued [JURIST report] its EU SSR Guinea-Bissau Mission [official website] that provided assistance to the country's security forces in developing a legal framework, citing the breakdown of law and order in the country. A few months earlier, Ban called on leaders in Guinea-Bissau to respect the rule of law [JURIST report] and maintain constitutional order in the wake of another confrontation between the military and government.

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