Sierra Leone UN mission chief calls on security forces to respect constitution

At the end of a one-week seminar on civil-military relations, organized by the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and conducted by the California-Based Naval Postgraduate School, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Daudi Mwakawago, told the closing ceremony that security forces can only carry out their functions successfully when they have the support of the people.Community policing, therefore, is most vital in reinforcing police efforts towards maintaining safety and order, he said, warning against the excessive use of coercive power, which could lead the people to see the security forces as enemies rather than protectors.Mr. Mwakawago exhorted seminar participants to undergo HIV/AIDS tests and take protective measures to safeguard themselves, their partners and their communities.In addition to civil war, Sierra Leone had experienced a number of coups over the past three decades. When the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone closes its doors next January, it will be succeeded by the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), which will work closely with the Government to root out the causes of the conflict and address deficits in governance, human rights observance and the rule of law.

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