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Sierra Leone has made impressive advances to consolidate peace and rebuild the economy in the wake of the end of its civil war, but the country still needs to make further progress on human rights, corruption, drug trafficking and governance, its President told the United Nations today.

Ernest Bai Koroma, addressing the opening day of the General Assembly's annual high-level debate in New York, said too many challenges remain for Sierra Leoneans to become complacent.

“I am proud of what Sierra Leone has achieved so far – but we still need to further enhance our capacity to promote and protect human rights, establish good governance and managerial capacity across the whole public sector, and fight corruption and narcotic drug trafficking,” he said.

Mr. Koroma said his country needs private capital investment, technical assistance and transfers of technology to make those further improvements.

“Most importantly, we are also not oblivious of the imperative of consolidating peace through enhanced political dialogue, tolerance and ensuring fair electoral process.”

The UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, known as UNIPSIL, is the current UN presence in the West African country, which emerged from civil war in 2002 with the assistance of a UN peacekeeping force.

Yesterday, in his latest report to the Security Council on the work of UNIPSIL, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that while Sierra Leone has made strides in consolidating peace and fostering national reconciliation, it must tackle high rates of youth joblessness and corruption to ensure the gains are not reversed.