UN Special Rapporteur Magdalena Sepulveda [official profile] urged [press release] Guinea-Bissau authorities on Friday to address the needs of those living in the country in extreme poverty. Sepulveda called on Guinea-Bissau to "move the country's politics away from short-term power struggles," and address "the consistent decline of investment in critical social services such as health and education, dramatically impairing the chances of further development." The statement made particular mention of the problems facing women and children in the impoverished West African nation, who face less access to health services, lower income, and higher incidence of HIV/AIDS.
Guinea-Bissau has faced continuing political instability since it gained independence from Portugal in 1974. Guinea-Bissau lawmakers in September rejected a proposal [JURIST report] that would have provided amnesty for all military officials involved in the coup earlier that year. In October 2012 the UN called for peaceful dialogue [JURIST report] after rebel forces attacked a Guinea-Bissau military base. The UN in May of 2012 insisted on accountability [JURIST report] for violent acts committed during the coup. Eleven days after the coup began on April 12, 2012, the UN Security Council called for constitutional order [JURIST report] to end the conflict that had begun when the army seized power during a presidential election.