United Nations backs Barbara Manzi, Slams Burkina Faso

Written by on December 27, 2022

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has expressed confidence in Ms Barbara Manzi, the most senior United Nations official in Burkina Faso, who was ordered to leave the country by the government.

Guterres said in a statement that he had complete faith in the United Nations system in Burkina Faso, as well as Ms Manzi’s commitment and professionalism.

Recall that Burkina Faso’s military government, In a statement issued over the weekend,ordered Manzi to leave the country immediately and without explanation.

When contacted, a government spokesperson, who spoke on anonymity did not immediately say why it had labelled Manzi, the UN’s Resident Coordinator in Burkina Faso, as “persona non grata” and demanded that she leave over the weekend.

According to media reports, the Burkina Faso Foreign Ministry cited Manzi’s decision to withdraw non-essential staff from the capital, Ouagadougou, as its justification for declaring her persona non grata.

However, Guterres pointed out in his statement, the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to United Nations officials.

The statement went on to explain that UN staff members have the right to remain in Burkina Faso in order to perform their functions on behalf of the organisation.

In addition, it stated that only the UN Secretary-General, as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Organisation, has the authority to withdraw any United Nations official.

Guterres reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to continue to engage with the transitional authorities in Burkina Faso, and to support the country and its people.

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