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UN says to continue engagement with Burkina Faso

Soldiers awaiting the arrival of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans during the 62nd anniversary of the creation of the Burkina Faso Armed Forces at the Nation Square in Ouagadougou on Nov 1, 2022. (MARTIN DEMAY / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations intends to continue to engage with the Burkina Faso government after a senior UN official was declared as "persona non grata" by the authorities of the West African country, a UN spokesman said Saturday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has "learned with regret" that the transitional government of Burkina Faso declared Barbara Manzi, UN resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator in the country, as "persona non grata," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN chief, said in a statement.

The Burkina Faso government on Friday made the declaration and asked UN resident coordinator Barbara Manzi to leave the country immediately

The Burkina Faso government on Friday made the declaration and asked Manzi to leave the country immediately.

The statement issued by Dujarric emphasized that the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to UN officials.

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Under Article 100 and 101 of the United Nations Charter, UN staff members are appointed by the Secretary-General, responsible only to the organization, and UN member states "undertake to respect their exclusively international character," according to the statement.

In accordance with Article 105 of the UN Charter, the United Nations is accorded privileges and immunities, including the right for its staff members to remain in Burkina Faso in order to perform their functions on behalf of the organization, it added. 

Only the Secretary-General has the authority to decide, after careful investigation, with respect to the withdrawal of any UN official, Dujarrric said.

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"The Secretary-General reiterates the commitment of the United Nations to continue to engage with the transitional authorities in Burkina Faso to support the country and its people," he added.