Bonn, 27 January 2000 -- The first
of 70 volunteer specialists recruited by the Bonn-based United Nations
Volunteers programme (UNV) arrived this week in Sierra Leone's capital
Freetown to take up a range of assignments providing services to the recently
established United Nations mission in the strife-torn West African country.
The entire contingent of UN Volunteers from 30 countries will be in place by mid-February to support the implementation of the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Volunteers will take up responsibilities as field engineers, camp managers, construction supervisors, communications and transport technicians and warehouse managers. Others will work as water and sewage specialists, inventory managers and computer specialists. The UN Volunteers will serve for an initial period of six months.
UNAMSIL was established on 22 October 1999 under UN Security Council Resolution 1270 to cooperate with the Government of Sierra Leone and the other parties to the peace agreement that was signed in Lomé on 7 July 1999 after nine years of civil war. The mission will help the Government implement its disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plan for some 45,000 combatants. To reach these objectives, a UN peacekeeping force has been deployed throughout the country. UNAMSIL peacekeepers have been empowered to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel and protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence.
The UN mission will also help delivery of humanitarian aid, support the operations of United Nations civilian human rights and civil affairs officials as well as provide support, as requested, to future democratic elections.