By Amara Thoronka
President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, on Monday 9th May 2022 officially launched the country’s bid for a seat in the non-permanent member category of United Nations Security Council, the world’s most powerful organ which determines and overseas global peace and security.
Non-permanent members are elected by the UN General Assembly for a two-year period. Sierra Leone’s bid eyes the 2024-2025 period. The last time the country served as member of the global security body was between 1971-1972. So, if it succeeds in 2024, that would mean returning to such capacity after 53 years.
While launching the nation’s bid, President Bio gave a background of Sierra Leone’s membership at the UN Security Council.
“In just eight years after Sierra Leone became a member of the United Nations, it had the singular honour to be elected to serve on the organisation’s most powerful deliberative body, the Security Council. These two unforgettable years of Sierra Leone’s tenure in the Council from 1971 to 1972, served as bold footprints that continue to define our Nation’s commitment to its international obligations and its unflinching support for a multilateral rules-based world order to advance and sustain global peace and security.”
According to the President, the country has been instrumental in maintain global peace and security, adding that Sierra Leone is once again pushing for a seat in the UN Security Council.
“As a nation, we have continued to play our part as a responsible member of the international community. At various times, Sierra Leone has proudly contributed troops and police to peace support operations so that others may enjoy the peace we enjoy today. Fifty plus years after our 1970-1971 tenure on the Security Council, we are once again presenting Sierra Leone’s candidature for a seat in the non-permanent category of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2024-2025.”
He cited that under his presidency, Sierra Leone has experienced the abolition of the death penalty, the joining of the International Religious Freedom Alliance and the repeal of the seditious libel laws.
The President pledged that, Sierra Leone will use its seat to promote global peace and security, advocate for the ownership and active involvement of women and youth in peace processes and peacekeeping operations as peace mediators and focus on threats to peace including terrorism and emerging threats.
“As a small nation that has once suffered from the dangerous effects of small arms proliferation, we will also spotlight small arms control. Also, given the centrality of Sierra Leone’s role as Coordinator of the C-10 on Security Council reform, we will continue to canvass, mobilise and promote support for the Common African
Position. We will unequivocally affirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations System, which will significantly contribute to upholding the principles, objectives and ideals of the UN Charter for a fairer world, based on universalism, equity and regional balance.”
President Bio noted that the country wants to share with the world its unique selling points such as religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence, and resilience to overcome threats and challenges.
He disclosed that Sierra Leone’s candidature has been endorsed by the African Union, expressing the country’s gratitude to African Union, the ECOWAS and other regional partners for the support and confidence reposed in Sierra Leone to carry the mantle for the continent.
Despite it being a small nation of about seven million people, the nation has proved itself worthy within the region and the wider world.
“Within the context of its international obligations, Sierra Leone has been taking on more responsibilities in the global arena as a small nation. Sierra Leone seats on the Special Committee on Decolonisation (C-24). For almost two decades now, Sierra Leone has served as Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten on the Reform of the Security Council, (C-10) with the mandate to promote, defend and canvass the Common African Position. Most recently Sierra Leone was honoured to be endorsed as the new Chair of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) at the 35th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government of the AU in February this year. The list goes on, with humility, I must say that these important roles and responsibilities Sierra Leone has been taking on the global stage are a mark of trust and confidence in our small but well-respected liberal and progressive nation.”
The President called on member states of the United Nations to endorse the bid of Sierra Leone during the elections to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York in June 2023.
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the UN and is responsible for global peace and security, admission of new members to the UN Genera Assembly, and approval of any changes to the United Nations Charter. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting imposing global sanctions, and authorizing military interventions. The Security Council is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.
The UN Security Council consists of 15 members. Five permanent or non-elected members and ten non-permanent or elected members. The five permanent members are United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France. The ten non-permanent members are elected by the United Nations General Assembly for a two-year period. Africa has 3 seats in the non-permanent members category.