“After several years of long-term investment in the stability of Guinea-Bissau, it is time to consolidate and reap the dividends of our concerted efforts. It is vital that we accompany this process to its completion,” Modibo Ibrahim Touré, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Guinea-Bissau told the Security Council. Mr. Touré stressed the importance for the Council to continue to reaffirm the centrality of the Conakry Agreement, reiterating its support to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in its mediation efforts.The Conakry Agreement of 14 October 2016 provides for, among other things, the appointment of a consensual Prime Minister.According to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Guinea-Bissau has been plagued by chronic political instability since gaining independence in 1974. The DPA provides support and oversight to the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office for Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), a special political mission first established in 1999 following a two-year civil war in the country. Since mid-2016, the Mission is headed by Mr.Touré. The main priorities of UNIOGBIS are to support efforts to consolidate constitutional order, further political dialogue and national reconciliation, encourage security sector reform, and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. On political developments, Mr.Touré said President Jose Mario Vaz dismissed former Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embaló and replaced him with Artur Silva.“The absence of a functioning and stable Government for more than three years has limited the ability of UNIOGBIS to effectively and sustainably implement some of its mandated tasks,” said Mr.Touré.Until the completion of the electoral cycle in 2019, Guinea-Bissau remains a country that requires a dedicated UN presence to prevent a further deterioration in the political and security situation at the national level and to avoid any negative spill-over to its neighbours and creating a fertile environment for trafficking to thrive, he noted.“It will be important for the United Nations to remain engaged in peacebuilding efforts in the country while supporting ECOWAS intervention to resolve the political crisis for at least one more year,” he said.Lastly, throughout the past year, the presence of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau has consistently acted as a deterrent to unauthorized military action and a stabilizing factor in the country, he said, calling on the Council and international donors to support the continued presence of ECOMIB through to the holding of a presidential election in 2019, including by advocating for the renewal of its mandate and the provision of the financial support needed to maintain its deployment.
“These are the values we should live by, these are the values civil servants hold dear and against these values the Tories are falling woefully short.” Dame Louise’s report warned the country was becoming more divided as it became more diverse and highlighted that in some communities women were the subject of “abuse and unequal treatment of women enacted in the name of cultural or religious values”.In her report she acknowledged that elements would be “hard to read”, particularly for Muslim communities which already felt under pressure, but she said the country had to face up to “uncomfortable” problems.The review recommended that schoolchildren should be taught “British values” of tolerance, democracy and respect to help bind communities together amid growing “ethnic segregation”.The review was originally commissioned by then prime minister David Cameron in 2015 as part of a wider strategy to tackle the “poison” of Islamic extremism.It found that while Britain had benefited hugely from immigration and the increased ethnic and religious diversity it had brought, there had not been sufficient emphasis on integration. Demonstrators from Muslims Against Crusaders protest against democracy outside the US Embassy in London in 2011Credit:Eddie Mulholland /The Telegraph “We should be talking about the universal values that unite us, not using nationalistic terms that exclude people.”A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union declined to say if it would encourage civil servants also to take the oath.He said: “To us, British values mean investing in our communities and our public services to make society more cohesive and to support everyone who needs help.“They mean not pitting neighbour against neighbour, the young against the old, the sick and disabled against those in work. Every public office-holder may have to swear an oath of allegiance to British values, Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, has signalled.The loyalty pledge would be expected to cover elected officials, civil servants, and council workers.However Labour frontbenchers attacked the idea and civil service trade unions declined to say if they would encourage their members to agree to the oath.Mr Javid’s proposal comes in response to a report on social cohesion by Dame Louise Casey, which warned some sections of society did not accept British values such as tolerance. He said he was “drawn” to Dame Louise’s recommendation to bring in an oath of allegiance for holders of public office because it was impossible for people to play a “positive role” in public life unless they accepted basic values like democracy and equality. Mr Javid said: “If we are going to challenge such attitudes, civic and political leaders have to lead by example. “We can’t expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don’t do so ourselves, and such an oath would go a long way to making that happen.” Mr Javid said his aim was not to create a “government-approved one size fits all identity” where everybody listens to the Last Night of the Proms, but “without common building blocks of our society, you’ll struggle to play a positive role in British life”. The oath could include phrases such as “tolerating the views of others even if you disagree with them”, as well as “believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse … a belief in equality, democracy, and the democratic process” and “respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass”. Mr Javid also wants all migrants to swear an oath of allegiance, not just those seeking UK citizenship,he told The Sunday Times.Former chancellor George Osborne hailed the idea as a “great initiative”, and ex-culture secretary John Whittingdale also said he supported the oath. But Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the move would not combat radicalisation. She told Sky News: “I have nothing against it in principle, but it will not make a difference to the problems of radicalisation, or integration. “I don’t think the oath will make any verifiable difference.” Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Lord Brian Paddick said: “Forcing public servants to swear an oath to British values would be both superficial and divisive. Dame Louise CaseyCredit:Geoff Pugh We need more effort to be put into integration policies to help communities cope with the pace and scale of immigration and population change in recent yearsDame Louise Casey Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.