Vol. 2, No.UNMIL 02 FOCUSDecember 2005 - February 2006

Liberia Reborn Interview: Dr. Ibn Chambas Refugee Returns Surge Classrooms Come Alive From the Special Representative of the Secretary-General

dations for the return of peace and prosper- ity to the country. The people of now have an opportunity to transform and develop their country, endowed, as it is, with abundant natural resources and enjoy- ing significant international goodwill. Like any country emerging from conflict, Liberia faces formidable challenges -- - nomic recovery, poverty reduction, provi- sion of basic services such as water and electricity, and ensuring effective gover- nance as well as physical security. Other pressing priorities include reintegration of ith the inauguration of the war-affected persons and former combat- new democratically elected ants, promoting human rights, rehabilitat- government, Liberia has ing the judicial system, and genuine social begun a new chapter in its reconciliation to heal the wounds of war. history. President Ellen Restoring a failed state is an arduous Johnson-SirleafW is the first woman in Africa task but past experiences have taught us to be elected Head of State. This is a historic that an incomplete peace is often the prel- moment not only for Liberia but for all of ude to renewed conflict. The international Africa. community must stay the course and help UNMIL has been a constant companion the country consolidate the achievements of Liberia on its long march to peace. By made so far. Investing in effective peace- maintaining security throughout the coun- building efforts in Liberia will pay divi- try and helping organize the national elec- dends not only to this country but also to tions, UNMIL, since its deployment in the whole region of , which has October 2003, has significantly contributed witnessed conflict engulf neigbouring to transforming Liberia from a brutal bat- countries. tled to a peaceful nation. With over 100,000 UNMIL remains committed to Liberia combatants disarmed and former warring and looks forward to working with the new factions disbanded, a stable security envi- government and our international and ronment prevails across the nation today. regional partners to build on the founda- State authority has been consolidated and tions laid during the past two years. tens of thousands of refugees and internal- ly displaced persons have returned home. Skills training programmes to reintegrate disarmed combatants into mainstream society continue. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been estab- lished, security sector reforms have been launched and the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Special Representative of the Programme (GEMAP) has been initiated. Secretary-General and Coordinator of These achievements have laid the foun- Operations in Liberia

2 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 country on the path of Secretary Dr. Ibn Chambas President. peace and democracy. discusses the organiza- tion’s role in Liberia and the West African region.


With the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson- 12 22 Sirleaf, Liberia has begun a 18 new chapter in its history. The Economic Community Liberian refugees are flock- Although the new govern- of West African States has U.S. First Lady ing back home as peace ment faces daunting chal- been a major actor in was among dozens of dig- prevails and democracy lenges, Liberians today are Liberia’s peace process. nitaries gracing the inaugu- takes root in the war-rav- determined to take their ECOWAS Executive ration of Africa’s first female aged nation.

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IN THIS ISSUE Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral and Coordinator 4 New Mind-Set, High Hopes of United Nations Operations in Liberia 6 Liberia Reborn Alan Doss 8 Ready, Set, Go! Deputy Special Representative of the 10 A New-look Cabinet Secretary-GGeneral for Operations 12 Interview: Dr. and Rule of Law Luiz Carlos da Costa 14 Women: “It’s Our Time!” 15 Humanitarian Appeal Launched Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral for Recovery and 17 Annan Appoints Sanctions Experts Governance Jordan Ryan 17 UNMIL to Help End Sanctions 18 Photo Gallery Chief of Public Information Christine B. Koerner 20 Interview: Luiz Carlos da Costa 22 Refugee Returns Surge Editor and Head of Publications Mathew Elavanalthoduka 24 Making Liberia Gun-Free 25 Recruitment Begins for New Army Staff Writers Yuko Maeda 26 Regaining the “Cuttington Edge” J. Wesley Washington

28 Classrooms Come Alive Design and Graphics 29 First Human Trafficking Case in Court Paddy Defoxy Ilos, II

30 The TRC Constituted Photos 32 Let’s Hear The Voice of Youth Eric Kanalstein 34 Safe Water Saves Lives Published by the Public Information 35 Helping Victims of Leprosy Office, United Nations Mission in Liberia 36 Namibians Contribute to Peace 37 Two Hours to Freetown [email protected] 39 Liberians Speak Printed by Buck Press Ltd., Accra,

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 3 NEW MIND-SSET, HIGH HOPES By Mathew Elavanalthoduka No one can envy the challenges facing political affiliations. President Johnson-Sirleaf as the leader of The deep wounds that need healing ome call it a revolution. Only a war-ravaged Liberia, literally reduced to were inflicted by men as was the mindless handful of countries in the ashes with no electricity or running water, destruction of the economy that now needs world have seen women rising high illiteracy and unemployment, and to be built from scratch. Liberians are to the pinnacle of leadership. tens of thousands of young, scalded men upbeat about having Ma Ellen -- a grand- This ultimate political privi- and women living on the margins of the mother and a technocrat to boot -- to lead legeS has eluded women even in many rich society after surrendering their weapons. the healing and rebuilding efforts in the and powerful countries boasting long Many Liberians still remain in displaced country. “She’s our man,” they had camps and refugee shelters in neighbour- declared during the electioneering, dis- years of democracy and the belief in the ing countries. The unresolved conflict in pelling doubts about any perceived gender ballot. Côte d’Ivoire, which shares a porous bor- inadequacy of their new leader who once The disbelief surrounding the election der with Liberia, can potentially unravel worked as a waitress to support her educa- of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Liberia’s pres- the nascent peace in the country. tion and later climbed career heights at the ident, and Africa’s first female president, Yet, Johnson-Sirleaf’s electrifying UN and the . No wonder many is still very much in the air. Killed, raped, speech at her inauguration was proof Liberians look up to Johnson-Sirleaf, a enslaved and abused, women and girls in enough that the Harvard-educated econo- former finance minister known for her Liberia have been among the most brutal- mist is unfazed. “We will create the social integrity, as their saviour. ized in the world for decades. They were and economic opportunities that will “Let us be proud that we were able to the principal victims of 14 years of blood- restore our people’s dignity and self- ultimately rise above our intense political shed in the country. Can the rise of one worth,” thundered the “Iron Lady,” soon and other differences in a renewed deter- among them to the pinnacle of their coun- after recalling the inhumanity of confine- mination as a people to foster dialogue try’s political leadership be any less ment, the terror of attempted rape and the instead of violence, promote unity rather momentous than a revolution? ostracism of exile she had herself experi- than disharmony and engender hope rather That is a question many keep asking. enced in the past. Describing Liberians as than disillusionment and despair,” she said But there are more questions. Can she a “strong and resilient” people, she exhort- at her inauguration. Words of inspiration deliver? Can she help her country rise ed them to come together “to heal and for a people who have witnessed nothing from its ashes? rebuild” the nation, regardless of their but violence for more than a generation. A

4 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 wake-up call to a blighted continent that has the largest concentration of dictators SECRETARY-GENERAL’S MESSAGE lording over the poorest people in the world. extend my warmest con- Johnson-Sirleaf acknowledges the gratulations to Ellen international community’s significant Johnson Sirleaf on her investment to bring peace to Liberia. But inauguration as President she knows only too well that the new- of the Republic of found peace cannot be consolidated and “ILiberia and Africa’s first elected woman sustained without bringing development to Head of State. I also congratulate the the people for which Liberia needs contin- people of Liberia who, through a peace- ued international assistance. ful and transparent electoral process, Secretary-General was have given Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf an his- quick to recognize the “pressing chal- toric mandate to lead the nation towards lenges” facing the country’s new post-war a future of lasting peace and stability. administration. Congratulating the people The establishment of a democratical- of Liberia on the peaceful and transparent ly elected Government in Liberia brings elections that handed down a “historic to a close the two year transitional period mandate” to Johnson-Sirleaf, he called on stipulated in the Accra Comprehensive the international community to assist the Peace Agreement of 18 August 2003. I new government to “consolidate its commend Charles for his UN Photo/Mark Garten authority, build upon the stability estab- leadership of the National Transitional lished so far and deliver basic services to Government of Liberia during the transi- the people.” Annan also assured Liberia tion period. irrespective of political or ethnic affilia- continued support from the United The new democratically elected tion. Nations, which has deployed a 15,000- Government faces a number of pressing I call on the international community strong force in Liberia since challenges, including restructuring the to assist the new Government to consoli- October 2003 to help the country’s transi- security sector, strengthening economic date its authority, build upon the stability tion from anarchy to peace. governance, stimulating economic established so far and deliver basic serv- “Our immediate priority will be to growth, strengthening the rule of law and ices to the people. Allow me also to consolidate peace and maintain security,” the protection of human rights, consoli- assure the new Government of the con- says the Secretary-General’s Special dating State authority throughout the tinued support of the United Nations Representative Alan Doss, who heads the country and re-establishing basic servic- family, as Liberia lays the foundation for peacekeeping mission that has disarmed es. In the face of these challenges, the a better future built on peace, stability, over 100,000 combatants and helped con- people of Liberia are being given a democracy and rule of law. Today, I wish duct the national elections that saw unique opportunity to join together, to all Liberians strength and courage in the Africa’s oldest republic making history by build a just and inclusive society, which work to rebuild a nation of which all its choosing a woman as their leader. “I think assures the participation of all people, citizens can be proud.”

we have to retain a strong profile and a large footprint in Liberia until the national “We have to retain security institutions are ready to take a strong profile over,” adds Doss, anxious to dispel wide- and a large spread fear that the international commu- nity may prematurely abandon Liberia footprint without consolidating stability that will in Liberia until encourage badly needed investment, trade and economic opportunities. the national No doubt Liberia’s resolve to tread the security institutions path of peace and democracy has earned the country significant international good- are ready will. Coupled with Ma Ellen at the helm, to take over.” Liberians today are palpably optimistic, eager to bury the sad chapter in their - Alan Doss recent history and smile again.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 5 Liberia Reborn Amid high expectations for a better future and good governance, Liberia has entered a new era as Ellen Johnson-SSirleaf took the Presidential oath as the country’s first elected female Head of State in mid-JJanuary and vowed to take the war-rravaged nation to greater heights. Faced with daunting challenges, the path ahead is unquestionably bumpy, but Liberians are eager to join hands with their international partners to revive the 158-yyear-oold republic, Yuko Maeda reports.

HELLO EVERY ONE Johnson-Sirleaf arrives at the Capitol for her inauguration

n 16 January, Johnson- tions of creating a government that is UN-backed elections, which international Sirleaf stood firm on the attentive and responsive to your needs, observers widely endorsed as free, fair and red carpet in the courtyard your concerns and the development and transparent, marked a milestone in the of the Capitol Hill to progress of our country,” she told the audi- peace process that began with the ECOW- address the nation soon ence amidst thunderous applause. AS-brokered Comprehensive Peace afterO she was sworn in as Liberia’s 23rd Minutes earlier, Johnson-Sirleaf, in a Accord in 2003 leading to the warring fac- President. As she walked to the podium, cream dress and a matching headgear, had tions surrendering their weapons after 14 she broadly smiled at thousands of cheer- placed her hand on the Bible to take the years of bloodshed. ing crowds—both international dignitaries oath while the cheering crowd greeted her “Your vote was a vote for change; a and fellow Liberians—and for a moment with shouts of “Queen of Africa!” She vote for peace, security and stability; and a looked straight ahead to the Executive won the second round of presidential bal- vote for healing and leadership. We have Mansion which houses her presidential lot in November, beating soccer legend heard you loudly, and we humbly accept office before renewing her vow to lead the by a nearly 20 per cent lead, your vote of confidence and your man- country’s taxing reconstruction work. thus becoming the first female elected date!” The powerful voice of the Harvard- “We pledge to live up to your expecta- as well as Africa. The educated former World Bank economist

6 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 met with loud cheers of “Yes!” and ters, and asked the international communi- main street to celebrate the inauguration. “Amen!” ty to provide continuous support. In “I’m very happy because it’s a new day for The historic inauguration drew wide exchange, she promised to make an Liberia!” He said he took a day off and had attention to the poverty-stricken West accountable, transparent government been on the street since early in the morn- African country of some 3 million people, which is inclusive, attentive and free of ing to have a glimpse of Johnson-Sirleaf attracting quite a few Heads of State from corruption. travelling the road to the Capitol Hill. He Africa as well as high-ranking officials “It is time for us to come together to believes her professional credentials from the world over to celebrate Liberia’s heal and rebuild our nation,” she told the would guarantee international support and singular moment in history. Among the audience. “We must put Liberians back to a better future for the country. dignitaries who attended the ceremony work again and we must put our economy “She is capable of delivering what she were Nigerian President Olusegun and financial house in order.” promised,” he said. “She has worked with Obasanjo, Ghanaian President John In her well-constructed and compre- all the UN, World Bank and other interna- Kufuor and President Thabo Mbeki of hensive inaugural speech, Johnson-Sirleaf tional institutions. She is not a novice, but South Africa. Louise Fréchette, UN’s set the focus of her administration and a veteran in politics and development. She Deputy Secretary-General, and European mapped out the path on which she would is up to the task.” Union Commissioner Louis Michel also lead the country. She vowed to fight cor- Like Gbee, thousands of Monrovians joined the ceremony. The presence of ruption, calling it the “number one public stood along the main streets for hours to America’s First Lady Laura Bush and enemy.” As a start, she promised the dis- show their support to the new leader. Secretary of State signi- closure of assets will be a prerequisite for Holding a portable radio and a Liberian fied a renewal of Liberia’s long-standing public officials to take office. She set a tar- flag, Augustine Sumu, a 21 year-old high special relations with the United States. school student, walked hours to the out- “I urge all of us to commit ourselves to takes the oath of side of the Capitol Hill to get a feel of the a new era of democracy in Liberia,” office as Vice President national cerebration. Sumu was among Johnson-Sirleaf beseeched fellow 4,000 youth who picked up brooms, Liberians. “In our new democracy, we will spades and paintbrushes to clean up the tolerate even if we disagree; we will co- city prior to the inauguration. “The new exist even if we consider our neighbour president told us she would work hard to unfriendly, and we will find common make the country move forward. I believe ground on the many vexing issues that she can do it as she promised,” he beamed. face our nation.” The jubilant atmosphere was a Finding common ground is not an easy reminder of how far the country has come job in a country where mistrust and greed in the past two years. During that period, prevail. Liberia’s modern history is filled the UN Mission in Liberia supported with ethnic hatred, violence and corrup- national efforts to achieve the transition to tion. Due to decades of political unrest and democracy by providing a secure environ- civil strife, which came to an end just get for her first 150 days in office -- attract ment, disarming more than 100,000 ex- about two and a half years ago, the coun- US$1 billion in foreign investment, ham- combatants, facilitating the return of tens try is reduced to ashes with no electricity mer out a reconstruction plan to relieve of thousands of displaced persons and or running water in place, four out of five Liberia of its burden and restore elec- refugees and helping organize the recent Liberians illiterate and unemployed and tricity to . She also asserted elections. public institutions dysfunctional. Liberia will no longer serve as fertile UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan The challenges facing Liberia are ground for subversion in neighbouring hailed the inauguration of the first woman tremendous. The country needs to restruc- countries. to lead an African nation. “I congratulate ture the security sector, strengthen eco- “Let us begin anew, moving forward the people of Liberia who, through a nomic governance, create jobs, institute into a future that is filled with hope and peaceful and transparent electoral process, the rule of law, protect human rights and promise!” have given Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf an his- re-establish basic public services, among Blue, red and white buntings and bal- toric mandate to lead the nation towards a others. loons brightened up Monrovia’s rundown future of lasting peace and stability,” he Liberia’s “Iron Lady”—also affection- buildings and pothole-ridden streets on the said in his statement issued from New ately called “Ma Ellen”—understands all inauguration day. Cheerful Liberians in York. Calling on the international commu- of this and seeks whatever help she can get colourful attires took to the streets, danc- nity to assist the new government to con- to meet the challenges. She called on her ing to the beat of drumming and waving solidate its authority, he assured that the countrymen and women to stand by her to the “Lone Star” national flag. UN family will provide “the continued work on national reconstruction, appealed “I’m excited!” said Boima Gbee, a support… as Liberia lays the foundation to Liberians in the diaspora to return home young man who spontaneously joined a for a better future built on peace, stability, to join hands with their brothers and sis- group of street performers on Monrovia’s democracy and rule of law.”

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 7 Ready, Set, Go !

BROOMS, NOT BULLETS Liberian youths tidy up the Capital

By Yuko Maeda monial rituals. “We, traditional leaders, take root in Liberia. With Johnson-Sirleaf hand over the power to rule our land to taking over the national leadership, mak- young woman in a white you as the leader of this country!” The ing a historic debut as the first female tunic and a turban sang in elder then presented a chieftain dress to elected Head of State in Africa, Liberians her native tongue while Johnson-Sirleaf to complete the power- and its international friends alike seem ethnic performers beat the succession ritual. eager to participate in the nation-building drums and played tradition- The century-old ritual broke one of the efforts. alA musical instruments in the courtyard of most crucial traditions: the ruling power, “We must have a new understanding,” the Executive Mansion that houses the which has been passed on from men to Johnson-Sirleaf reminded fellow presidential office. Dressed in colourful men for generations, was now bestowed Liberians in her inaugural address in African attires, clan chiefs from various on a female leader. January, urging them to work with her to tribes across the country circled around “We are happy to have her as our create a better country. “Your job as a citi- newly sworn-in President Ellen Johnson- leader,” said Asmana Kamara, the gover- zen is to work for your family and your Sirleaf and, one by one, surrendered to her nor of the Madingo tribe. “She is now the country. Your country’s only job is to work tribal symbols of power—a fish net, a mother of our land and allowed to lead the for you!” wood carving mask and chickens. country. It’s not against our traditions. We Youth groups were among the first to “You are ‘Mother of Land!’” an elder will support her as much as we can.” stand up to join the new idea of participa- declared while a hundred clan chiefs and The ceremonial ritual mirrors a new tory democracy. Nearly 4,000 young peo- other traditional leaders watched the cere- wave of democracy, which has begun to ple volunteered to clean up the city prior to

8 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 the inauguration, which brought over 100 new government as heads of office while help develop infrastructure, the education international journalists to Monrovia eager others are seeking opportunities for invest- sector and governance while the largest to report on Liberia’s miraculous transfor- ments and professional practice. donor, the United States, currently sup- mation to the rest of the world. Refugees who fled to neighbouring porting the restructuring of the country’s The youth volunteers, many of whom countries to escape the civil war are also security sector along with UNMIL, is wielded guns during the civil conflict, coming home. Within three weeks after seeking to funnel US$250 in aid for the removed more than 250 truckloads of the inauguration, around 3,000 refugees, coming year. garbage, brushed and painted roadsides, mostly from and , The UN family is following suit. A vis- patched potholes and repainted many headed back home with the UN refugee iting senior official of the World Bank buildings, bridges and road signs through- agency’s repatriation assistance. As recently reiterated its irreversible commit- out Liberia’s capital. Three local youth Johnson-Sirleaf has reassured her govern- ment to Liberia’s reconstruction efforts groups initially managed to gather only ment would do all it could to assist them to with a number of “quick win” projects, 1,000 volunteers to join this “Youth in resettle, a massive flow of the remaining especially in the area of road rehabilita- Action” initiative, but the number soon 187,000 registered refugees is expected in tion. The UN Development Fund for swelled to 4,000 young men and women the coming months. Women, UNIFEM, pledged US$500,000 by the end of the 10-day exercise. Johnson-Sirleaf’s professional creden- to support the Ministry of Gender and “You are the future of Liberia; you are tials in the area of development and her Development and women’s organizations the ones who are going to stand up and commitment to creating an accountable to promote gender equality. Alan Doss, take this country forward,” Johnson- government seem to be encouraging head of the peacekeeping mission, also Sirleaf commended on their noble act Liberia’s international partners to come reassured that UNMIL will stay the course while touring the city to thank the youth. forward to assist the new government in its to consolidate the achievements so far. Liberians now living in other countries rebuilding efforts. Since her inauguration, Although the challenges facing the are also keen to return home to take part in the Executive Mansion has been receiving country are immense, with the growing the rebuilding of the ruined nation. visitors from international aid agencies, participation of Liberians, both domestic Responding to a call by Johnson-Sirleaf, donor countries and major consultancy and overseas, and the support from its who appealed to overseas Liberians to firms on a daily basis. international partners, Liberia’s new return after acknowledging brain drain in The European Commission pledged in democracy looks set for a smooth take- various fields as a serious issue, some January another US$82 million aid pack- off. expatriates living abroad have joined the age to Liberia for the next three years to

World Bank Promises “Quick Win” Projects

ommitted to supporting ects. So far, the Bank has targeted the as Africa. The senior official held consul- Liberia’s reconstruction, the rehabilitation of roads as a priority to tative meetings with the new President and World Bank intends to enable the government to focus on better international partners including US implement a number of delivery of public services to communi- Ambassador Donald Booth and represen- “quick win” projects, a visit- ties. tatives of the European Commission and ingC senior World Bank official recently Ryan, in turn, urged the Bank to con- other development organizations. told representatives of the UN Mission in sider debt relief for Liberia, the impover- In her meeting with Doss, the two Liberia. ished war-ravaged country that needs to exchanged their views over the challenges Robin Cleveland, Counsellor to World tackle a national debt of US$3.5 billion, facing the new government and discussed Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, met with and scale up its assistance to support the structural reform, the Governance and Alan Doss, Special Representative of the new government in improving the coun- Economic Management Assistance Secretary-General, and his deputy for try’s infrastructure. He also suggested the Programme and the rehabilitation of roads Recovery and Governance, Jordan Ryan, bank finance labour-intensive projects in across the country. during her three-day visit to Liberia in late order to create more jobs, especially for During her short stay, Cleveland trav- January. Liberia’s youth. As four out of five elled to Margibi County and the southeast- At the meeting, Cleveland reassured Liberians nationwide are currently unem- ern cities of Barclayville and Harper. She UNMIL that the World Bank is committed ployed, such projects would curb the high was accompanied by Mats Karlsson, the to providing necessary assistance to unemployment rate, he said. Bank’s Country Director for Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s govern- Cleveland’s visit came shortly after Ghana and Sierra Leone, and Sarah Cliffe, ment to carry out the national reconstruc- Johnson-Sirleaf was sworn in as the first the Programme Coordinator for Low tion work with various “quick win” proj- female elected president of Liberia as well Income Countries under Stress.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 9 A NEW-LOOK CABINET By J. Wesley Washington cadet and rising through the ranks. His diplomatic route had seen all the important arely a day after taking the port of calls in Africa and elsewhere in the oath of office, President world, including the Court of St. James Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf began and the United States. Just before his naming her cabinet team as appointment as the chief diplomat of the well as officials of various country he was a Senior Ambassador-at- ministriesB and parastatals. Liberians and Large. the donor community have been anxiously At his confirmation hearing with the waiting for the line-up of the new admin- House of Senate Foreign Relations istration to see whether Johnson-Sirleaf Committee recently, Wallace pledged to will stick to her pre-election stance -- that combine his experience and expertise her government will not be a repeat of past acquired over the decades to restore governments and that anyone selected to Liberia’s lost image on the world stage. serve in her cabinet will have to pass three “I’ll strive to strengthen our relations with basic tests: integrity, competence and a other nations, especially our neighbors, good human rights record. and clearing the stigma of a failed state. One of the earliest appointments, that Our challenging task is to break out of the of George W. Wallace, Jr. as Minister of ring of alienation, regain our lost image Foreign Affairs, eloquently delivered the and restore international confidence and message Liberians have been waiting to credibility in our country,” he said. hear. Wallace, a career diplomat, lawyer Another highly acclaimed appoint- and administrator, is one of Liberia’s most Washington J. Wesley ment was that of as the celebrated diplomats, having joined the Finance Minister. For many years, then Department of State in 1954 as a Antoinette Sayeh Liberia’s Ministry of Finance has been

Legislators Cho By J. Wesley Washington The elections, held on 13 January, a Secretary-General of the rebel group few days before the Presidential inaugura- Liberians United for Reconciliation and iberia’s new 94-member bi- tion, threw up some surprises. Democracy (LURD), which fought against cameral Legislature recently ’s District No. 5 the Taylor government from 1999 to 2003, elected its leadership after Representative Edwin Snowe, former son- was elected Senate President Pro Tempore. an initial tussle over transfer in-law of Liberia’s ex-president Charles On the ticket of the National Democratic of power from the National Taylor, was elected Speaker of the 64- Party of Liberia (NDPL), he won the elec- LTransitional Legislative Assembly member House of Representatives. tion with a single vote, 15 to 14 with one (NTLA), which was cobbled together as According to the Constitution, the Speaker abstention, over his contender Grand Kru part of the 2003 Comprehensive Peace ranks third in the government. In the event County Senior Senator Cletus Wotorson, a Agreement. A Joint Session at Capitol of both the President and Vice President presidential candidate during the 1997 Building, the seat of the Legislature, being unable to function as President of elections. agreed on the Acting Speaker of the Liberia, the Speaker of the House of Representative Snowe, an independent NTLA inducting the new members and Representatives takes over. candidate, defeated Montserrado County’s subsequently conducting leadership elec- Grand Gedeh County Senior Senator District No. 4 Representative and long- tions. Isaac Nyenebo, a former advisor and time political activist, Dusty Wolokollie of

10 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 extensive experience working at the World Cabinet, Johnson-Sirleaf has raised the bar Bank in financial, capacity building and of governance several notches higher. economic development areas. She once With bad governance cited as one of the served as the World Bank’s Country root causes of the country’s devastating Director in Togo, Niger and . civil wars, long-suffering Liberians are Equipped with a Ph. D. in International today looking up to the new president for and Development and a Master a transparent and accountable government of Law and Diplomacy, International and that will use the country’s rich resources Development Economics, both from for the benefit of its citizens. Fletcher School, Tufts University, in the US state of Massachusetts, Sayeh looks set to rid corruption from the corridors of the government. She termed corruption as “an economic crime” but reminded Liberians that it would take more than the govern- ment alone to fight the vice. “The problem of corruption should be tackled by all Liberians. Giving better remuneration to civil servants is one of the ways of fighting corruption,” she said. The reappointment of Vabah Kazaku Gayflor as the Minister of Gender and Development reflects the importance the new administration attaches to gender- Vabah Gayflor related issues. Liberia’s women have been considered to be a symbol of entrenched the principal victims of the civil war but corruption and mismanagement. By they have lately become a strong political choosing Sayeh, the second female force demanding their voices to be heard. Finance Minister in the country, to head Gayflor served the National Transitional the critical finance portfolio, Johnson- government in the same capacity and has Sirleaf seemed keen to offer Liberians a been a vocal campaigner for the advance- clean and accountable government in line ment of women’s rights.

with her branding corruption as “enemy With the appointments of personalities Washington J. Wesley number one.” Sayeh comes to the job with with impeccable credentials to her George W. Wallace, Jr. oose Leadership , by 48 to 13 votes. ping them from travelling to Ghana to Snowe represented the power-sharing “We want to inform the President-elect attend a World Bank-sponsored training transitional government as Managing at this time that this body, in the interest of session for members of Liberia’s new leg- Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Liberia, will work hand in hand for the islature. Company, while President Pro Tempore betterment of our people,” the newly elect- When asked how he will function in Nyenebo was Liberia’s Comptroller- ed Speaker told reporters following his light of a travel ban, Snowe said, “We will General in the Ministry of Finance. win. Snowe is one of four newly elected engage the international community con- For the position of Deputy Speaker, legislators who are on a United Nations structively and give reasons why we think ’s Representative for District Security Council Travel Ban and Assets they should lift the ban. I will be appealing No. 5, Thomas Mulbah of the Congress for Freeze List for “on-going ties with ex- to them for the good of Liberia to promote Democratic Change (CDC), emerged vic- president Charles Taylor.” true democracy in Liberia and that we are torious against three others with 38 votes. Recently, the UN enforced the ban on prepared to work for peace and stability in ’s Nohn Kidau of COTOL Snowe and three of his colleagues – Liberia, the sub-region and the world.” came second with 13 votes. Taylor’s former wife, Jewel Howard The new Speaker came to political Taylor, and two former rebel commanders, limelight as head of the youth wing of ex- Adolphus Dolo and Kai Farley – by stop- president Taylor’s National Patriotic Party.


The 15-mmember regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has been in the forefront of the quest for peace in Liberia from the very begin- ning of the civil conflict that began in 1989. ECOWAS is also actively involved in efforts to bring to an end conflicts raging in other parts of West Africa. The Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, was among the dignitaries who flew in to witness the inauguration of President Ellen Johnson-SSirleaf, following peaceful and democratic elections as part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement brokered by the organization in 2003. In an interview with Editor Mathew Elavanalthoduka, he discusses the organization’s role in the region, the issue of Charles Taylor and the elusive peace in Côte d’Ivoire.

What role did ECOWAS play in bring- ing peace to Liberia? ECOWAS has been engaged in the search for peace in Liberia from the very outbreak of civil war in December 1989. ECOWAS sought mediation between the rebel groups and then government of President Doe by calling the first meetings between the two sides in Freetown, Sierra Leone. When all peaceful means failed at that initial phase and the conflict escalat- ed, ECOWAS went a step further by intro- ducing an inter-positional force - ECO- MOG - to be a separation force between the government and the rebels while main- taining the political and diplomatic efforts. It was entirely a West African initiative funded by member states who volunteered troops and paid for those troops to come in [followed by] the UN and the internation- al community down the line in conducting the elections that brought Charles Taylor to power. Mathew Elavanalthoduka “DEFEND Peace Jealously...”

The expectation then was that durable Comprehensive Peace Accord under the Liberia has found peace and democra- peace would return to Liberia but we now Chairmanship of President John Kufour of cy but it is still very precarious, still very know what happened. When the second Ghana who was Chairman of ECOWAS. fragile because Liberia has also inherited civil war started with the attacks from the All Liberian stakeholders – former gov- huge problems - a total collapse of state, LURD rebels and later MODEL, ECOW- ernment of Liberia, the rebel groups, civil security, public and financial sector insti- AS once again took the initiative to start society, religious groups, women’s groups tutions. All these need to be reconstructed. the peace process that led to, first and fore- – came together and fashioned out the There are huge social problems because of most, the departure of Mr. Taylor, the agreement which has brought us to this the breakdown of economic and social introduction of another ECOWAS force, happy end. ECOWAS has remained a infrastructure - children have not been to ECOMIL, which was transformed into major player, a very dependable partner of school for many years, health sector is in UNMIL. the Liberian people. ruins, roads are destroyed. We also need to Of course this was going parallel with rebuild the army. a political and diplomatic initiative which How can ECOWAS help Liberia sustain Liberia needs the continued engage- led to the signing in Accra of the the new found peace and democracy? ment, particularly of ECOWAS and cer-

12 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 tainly the wider international community. to for accepting to host him. involved in the past because of the conflict That’s why we will stay to work very Second, the new government needs some in order to quickly enable Liberia benefit closely with the new government. We will space and time, and in my judgment it is fully. keep the ECOWAS office open here to not good to put a lot of pressure on it when accompany the government in this it has many immediate and pressing prob- Now that Liberia has moved away from Herculean task of post-conflict reconstruc- lems. conflict and has embraced democracy tion. and peace, what message do you have The continued impasse in Côte for the people of Liberia? Nigeria has been under immense pres- d’Ivoire’s peace process is a threat to Liberia should defend very jealously sure to hand over Charles Taylor to the sustaining the fragile peace in Liberia this newly won peace and democracy. Special Court in Sierra Leone. What is and Sierra Leone. What is the involve- Peace is essential for sustainable develop- ECOWAS’ position on this issue? ment of ECOWAS in Côte d’Ivoire? ment and fighting poverty, for achieving The position of ECOWAS has been ECOWAS is deeply involved in the any level of progress and prosperity. that the issue of Mr. Taylor should be put search for peace in Côte d’Ivoire. We were Liberians have learnt their lesson, I in the right context. It’s an internationally the first to move in there when trouble would like to believe. They know the pain, negotiated agreement which took Mr. started brewing. It is the second biggest the suffering that war can bring and has Taylor to Nigeria and in fact we should be economy in West Africa, was a major pil- brought to their country. I’ll urge them to very grateful to Nigeria for accepting Mr. lar of stability in the region, and we would be determined to ensure that never again Taylor and for bringing in the first two bat- like to see Côte d’Ivoire overcome this would they allow their country to go talions which maintained some level of problem very quickly. through the kind of destruction, the suffer- stability that allowed the peace process to ECOWAS, of course, is responsible for ing and pain they have endured. take off. ECOWAS certainly does not various ceasefires. We negotiated bringing Additionally, we need to really show a believe that Nigeria should be harassed on an end to the fighting between the govern- strong commitment to the country, devel- the issue of Mr. Taylor. ment forces and the New Forces (Forces op it, help bring about an end to the The other factor we should take into Nouvelle). We have been involved in extreme levels of poverty which we now account is that the new government in peace talks and negotiations. Right now see. Liberia should be given time and space. It we are part of the current initiative which The other thing I would like to remind would be very unfair to put huge pressure started with the ECOWAS Summit on 30 Liberians is that 20 years ago, this country on this new government over a very poten- September 2005 that came out with the enjoyed a per capita income of close to tially destabilizing issue such as of Mr. new framework for UN Resolution 1643. US$1,000. So it has been done before; it is Taylor. The ECOWAS position is a prag- We have an office in Côte d’Ivoire doable and they should get themselves matic one so we can consolidate this frag- tracking the peace process. We are playing shaped up so that they realize their full ile peace which we are trying to build here the facilitating role, trying to get all the potential. There is no reason why this in Liberia, providing this new government Ivorians to work together in a government country should be in the shape which it is all the support it needs without burdening of national unity under the new Prime in. it initially with a very difficult political Minister Konan Banney to take the coun- and diplomatic issue such as that of Mr. try out of the civil crisis. What progress has been achieved in Taylor. relation to the setting up of a standby The time is not ripe to immediately In what ways can Liberia benefit from military force by ECOWAS? raise this issue with the new government the New Partnership for African ECOWAS, within the context of an or to put unnecessary pressure on it when Development, NEPAD? African standby force, has developed the it should be concentrating its efforts in the NEPAD is a framework for African strategy for a brigade -- 6,500 soldiers initial period on forming the government, development, to ensure that there is who can be deployed initially. We’ve gone trying to get institutions functioning, try- democracy, good governance, peace, sta- as far as finding the headquarters of this ing to address urgent questions on critical bility and economic development. Liberia brigade and various positions have already sectors of the population such as the youth can work to ensure that this new peace is been assigned to member states. The and former combatants who have not been defended, the new stability is consolidated Hastings Airfield has been handed over by properly integrated, in trying to build a within the context of good governance, the government of Sierra Leone to new armed forces. democracy and transparency, fighting cor- ECOWAS to use as a base for a logistics ruption, all the things that President Ellen depot. So you’re saying that Charles Taylor Johnson-Sirleaf has committed herself to. We enjoy very good support from a should be left to enjoy his freedom? It is clear to me that she’s positioning number of bilateral partners – US, UK, I did not say that. I’m not talking about Liberia to play an active role in the France, primarily – but also a lot of techni- Mr. Taylor enjoying his freedom. What NEPAD framework and I think that there cal support from the UN system. We have I’m saying is that, first, Nigeria should not are very bright prospects for Liberia in received very good cooperation from UN’s be harassed on the issue of Mr. Taylor. moving forward. We will bring Liberia on Department of Peacekeeping Operations Nigeria fulfilled its part of an international board of all the programmes and projects in the development of the concepts for the arrangement and we ought to be thankful related to NEPAD the country was not standby force.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 13 Women: “It’s Our Time!” By Yuko Maeda struction efforts. They want to heal the international, national and grassroots lev- wounds of war and mend the broken soci- els. “We won’t stop at the victory of ever before have women in ety. They also want to be nation-builders Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf,” she said at Liberia -- and Africa -- felt beyond their role as peacemakers. the opening of the forum. “We will make so proud of their gender. “Because women have long suffered sure it will translate into social, economic, President Ellen Johnson- too much, this time around we need our political and cultural advancement of Sirleaf’s dramatic debut as rights back,” says Ester Kettor, a mother of women in the region.” theN first female elected Head of State on five who took part in the women’s peace At the grassroots level, Liberian the African continent has electrified movement and every week joined its mass women have started reinforcing their net- women, boosting their self-esteem and sit-in-action on the field near the Fish work to mainstream women in politics and inspiring their collective advancement. Market in Monrovia to pray for peace. The development. The Women NGOs “So many of you have been with me in sit-in peace action lasted for the past two Secretariat of Liberia, an umbrella body of this long road to victory,” Johnson-Sirleaf years and ended last December. She now nearly 200 women’s groups across the told more than 250 women from around hopes Johnson-Sirleaf, a symbol of country, has recently reorganised its struc- the globe who had gathered at a women’s women’s achievement, supports women’s ture to help each group become more forum at Liberia’s Ministry of Gender and collective dream to come true. “I hope she active and effective. With technical sup- Development one afternoon in January. will make our children go to school, get port and funding from UNMIL’s Office of “We shared misery with you. We shared our husbands have a job and get paid and Gender Advisor, they are now making a struggle with you. We shared agony with help women to work hard. We’re ready to strategic plan, developing its constitution you. Today, we can say: ‘Our time has join her for that.” That is a sentiment and creating new programmes to build the come.’” shared by most of Liberia’s women today. capacity of women so that they can advo- “Our time” meant women’s time. It’s “We were waiting for too long to have cate their rights and make women’s con- the time for women to feel valued and a female president in Africa. Now we’ve cerns reflected in the government’s agen- respected; the time to lead the country and got Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf!” da. decide on the path it takes. Women in exclaimed Aminita Bangaur Ndiaya, “We have to have an effective organi- Africa, particularly in Liberia, have long Senegal’s former Minister of Gender and a zation to advocate the newly elected pres- been marginalised in society for centuries. member of the Pan-African Women ident to keep her promises,” says Etweda They were left out of the decision-making Parliament, at the women’s forum. She Cooper, former Acting Chairman of the process that affects their lives. said Johnson-Sirleaf’s election opened the Secretariat who stepped down to be an Discriminated against in a male-dominat- long-closed door for women to play a advisor to the President. ed society, they were restricted to child- leadership role and it was time for women As Liberian women resolutely battle bearing and home-making roles for gener- to consolidate all the efforts to secure for their rights and strive for a better soci- ations. Much worse, during the decades of women’s advancement. “She needs all sol- ety, Johnson-Sirleaf vows to be their role political unrest and civil strife, women idarity from all women from the African model. “We’ll do what we can to make were so often subjected to physical vio- continent.” women proud; we’ll do what we can to lence, gang rape and sexual slavery. Vabah Gaylor, Minister for Gender and make women excel; and we’ll do what we Ironically, that was the time Liberian Development, who has retained her posi- can to make women follow my foot step, women rose up from a child-bearer and tion in the new government, hopes so that a decade from now, there are many homemaker to be the head of the house- Johnson-Sirleaf’s election is a beginning Madam Presidents!” hold and the community. As men fought of the gender-mainstreaming movement at and killed, women became a symbol of survival. They needed to find food to feed the family. They needed to find shelter to let the children feel secure and a way to support each other to survive. When the war intensified in 2002, they stood up to become crusaders and mobilised thou- sands of women for peace prayers across the country. Now that peace prevails, women demand to be part of the country’s recon-

PEACEMAKERS 14 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 Women converge in support of peace Humanitarian Appeal Launched Josephine Guerrero

By Yuko Maeda of IDPs and refugees that remain in camps Leonean and Ivorian refugees living in that need to come home and restart their Liberia, repatriating about 100,000 iberia’s humanitarian actors lives.” Liberian refugees from neighbouring launched early December an Although he acknowledged that the countries and reintegrating and protecting appeal for US$121 million to gap between humanitarian assistance and the returnees, according to the appeal. The fund humanitarian aid pro- development is not easily bridged, he rest of the money would be spent for assis- grammes such as immuniza- expects this appeal to be “the last major tance activities to 260,000 IDPs. Ltion, food assistance and school rehabilita- humanitarian appeal for Liberia because it “We, the humanitarian community, tion for the next 12 months as the country is time to move forward on to recovery count on donor support to implement these treads the path of recovery and develop- and development.” projects to respond to ongoing urgent ment. The Consolidated Appeal for Liberia needs of the Liberian people,” said Angela The UN family in Liberia, the transi- outlines the assessment of needs in various Kearney, head of the children’s agency tional government -- predecessor to sectors and detailed activities each of the UNICEF. She noted the money donated President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s govern- 29 humanitarian actors plans for this year. will not be channelled through the local ment -- and humanitarian partners consol- The funding will cover 84 projects alto- government but go directly to implement- idated the financial requirements to carry gether, from water sanitation to education ing organizations. out their activities across the country to to ex-combatants’ reintegration, with 25 Per Bjerre, representative of the meet humanitarian needs through 2006, projects in the health sector followed by Monitoring and Steering Group, an and made the joint appeal for funding. 16 projects in agriculture. umbrella body of 52 international NGOs The money is needed to provide basic In the health sector, for example, a in Liberia, fully supported the social services and protection to vulnera- number of UN agencies and NGOs will Consolidated Appeal process to cordinate ble populations, including those affected work on polio immunization, reproductive humanitarian activities here and urged by HIV/AIDS, refugees and internally dis- health education and the revitalization of donors to pledge generously. placed persons (IDPs), revitalize commu- primary health care services, among oth- The appeal is part of the global 2006 nities and strengthen the capacity of local ers. In the agriculture sector, the UN agri- Humanitarian Appeal of US$4.7 billion authorities to support the recovery culture agency FAO plans to provide seeds for 18 locations worldwide, launched by process, the humanitarian actors said. and agricultural tools to returnees, ex- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 30 “Liberia has made tremendous combatants and war-affected farmers in November last year. Sudan is the largest progress in the political, security, social nine counties, build community-based requesting country with an appeal of and the humanitarian fronts despite the extension capacity in 73 districts around US$1.5 billion while the Republic of many problems. But it is far too early to the country and develop a National Food Congo asking US$30.5 million is the declare victory and just leave,” said Alan Security and Nutrition Strategy. smallest. The process of the Consolidated Doss, the UN Special Representative of The refugee agency UNHCR is Appeal is the international community’s the Secretary-General and Coordinator of requesting US$51 million -- the largest most important tool for raising financial UN Operations in Liberia, at the launch. amount -- to help people return to their resources for humanitarian action and pro- “Humanitarian support is still urgently homes. Out of this, US$37 million would vides a unified framework for a strategic needed. There are hundreds of thousands be used for assisting over 16,000 Sierra response to humanitarian needs.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 15 Japanese Donation Benefits Liberian Children few days before President Ellen and diarrhea." aged during Liberia's 14-year civil war and Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated, UNICEF will use Japan's contribution are now areas that are expected to have a ALiberia’s long suffering children to strengthen health facilities in seven high return of displaced population and received a shot in the arm with the govern- focus counties -- Bomi, Bong, Grand refugees," said Japan's Ambassador to ment of Japan contributing US$2.25 mil- Gedeh, Lofa, Maryland, Montserrado, and Ghana, Masamichi Ishikawa. lion to the United Nations Children's Fund Nimba -- and the impact is estimated to "Consequently, my government is partner- (UNICEF) in Liberia to protect the coun- increase immunization coverage from 70 ing with UNIICEF to help provide basic try’s young population from infectious dis- per cent to 90 per cent. health care services to people who need eases, including malaria and acute respira- The funding is targeted to provide the support and protection as they work to tory infections. Expanded Programme of Immunization rebuild their homes and communities." "We are very grateful to the govern- (EPI) services to more than 450,000 "The major cause of morbidity in ment of Japan for their continued commit- Liberian children and training and supplies Liberian children under age 5 is malaria," ment to assist Liberia's vulnerable chil- to strengthen the capacity of health care said Yoshiteru Uramoto, Director of dren," said UNICEF Liberia workers at the community level to treat UNICEF's Country Office in Japan. "Use Representative Angela Kearney, who rep- and prevent childhood illnesses. To protect of treated nets has been shown to reduce resented the United Nations agency at an children from malaria, long lasting insecti- deaths from malaria by about one quarter. Exchange of Notes ceremony, held at the cide-treated bed nets will be distributed to In addition to reducing maternal morbidi- Embassy of Japan in Accra, Ghana. "This every child under the age of 5 and to all ty, pregnant women's use of treated nets generous contribution will make an enor- pregnant women in Lofa, Grand Gedeh, helps protect infant health, as malaria con- mous difference in helping Liberia's and Maryland counties. Pregnant women tributes significantly to low birth weight. Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and in the three counties will also be targeted That's a major reason why the government other UNICEF key partners protect hun- to receive two-doses of the ant-malarial of Japan's contribution will make such a dreds of thousands of children from malar- drug sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. critical difference in saving young lives in ia, acute respiratory infections, measles "These three counties were badly dam- Liberia.” UN Fund Pledges $500,000 he United Nations Development the protracted civil war in the country as Vabah Gayflor, Liberia’s reappointed Fund for Women (UNIFEM) victims of rape, assault and enslavement. Minister of Gender and Development, Tannounced in January a pledge of Some of them were forced take up paid tribute to UNIFEM's long history of $500,000 to Liberia while congratulating weapons on behalf of one rebel faction or working with Liberian women. “They the country on the inauguration of its new another. stood with us when we were mobilizing to President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first “UNIFEM is proud to have supported support women's candidacy and leadership female to head an African nation. The the Ministry of Gender and Development, in the parliamentary and presidential elec- money will be used to support Liberia’s and women's organisations throughout tions.” Ministry of Gender and Development and Liberia to reach this truly historic achieve- UNIFEM said it will mobilize its part- women’s organisations that promote gen- ment," said Noeleen Heyzer, the Fund’s ners to respond to Liberia’s priorities in der equality and peace in the country. executive director, who attended the inau- promoting gender equality. Liberian women have borne the brunt of guration. European Commission Offers Aid he European Commission (EC) peace agreement was signed," said Louis the EC has provided the country over announced in January a financial Michel, European Commissioner for Euros 186.5 million (US$ 224 million) Tassistance package worth Euros Development and Humanitarian Aid. since the signing of the Comprehensive 68.4 million (US$ 82 million) to support The financial assistance from the Peace Agreement in 2003. Disarmament, the new post-war government in its recov- European Commission, among the largest Demobilization, Rehabilitation and ery and development efforts for the next donors to Liberia, will help revive electric- Reintegration (DDRR) programmes, food three years. ity and water supplies, and will also sup- security operations and rural development “As we all know, the challenges facing port the country’s health and education programmes are among the areas that have Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf are immense. We sectors that had been badly hit by the pro- benefited from European Commission’s have to rise to them together, by stepping longed civil war. assistance to the war-ravaged nation. up the cooperation we began after the A key player in Liberia’s development,

16 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 Annan Appoints Sanctions Experts n late January, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed a five-member Panel of Experts to monitor the renewed sanctions regime the Security CouncilI imposed on Liberia after receiv- ing reports that the West African country’s natural resources were not being used to benefit its people. The latest Panel of Experts comprises Arthur Gregory Blundell of Canada as Chairman, Damien Callamand of France,

Caspar Fithen of the United Kingdom, UN Photo/Evan Schneider Tommy Garnett of Sierra Leone and Rajiva Bhushan Sinha of India. in the management of the country’s timber lished and the government controlled the In December 2005 the Security and diamond resources. national forests. Council renewed the sanctions it had first The Council initially approved the A Panel of Experts appointed in July imposed on Liberia in May 2001 and Liberian sanctions after determining that 2005 to assess the implementation and which now include timber, travel, arms former President Charles Taylor’s govern- impact of the sanctions regime in Liberia and diamond embargoes. The Council also ment had helped the rebel Revolutionary noted that the requirements for lifting the re-established the Panel of Experts to con- United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone fight embargo on Liberian rough diamonds and duct follow-up assessments of the sanc- against the government there during the timber had not been met. In addition, tions and said it would review the meas- country’s brutal decade-long civil war. agreements reached on iron ore exports ures, with a view to ending them, at the In 2003, citing Liberia’s “active sup- suggested that Liberians could not rely on request of President Ellen Johnson- port” of rebel groups which were having a their government or on the international Sirleaf’s new government. destabilizing effect on West Africa, the community to protect their interests. The Council welcomed the determina- Council renewed and expanded the sanc- Instead, it said, the country needed trans- tion of President Johnson-Sirleaf to meet tions, and decided the measures would parent business negotiations. its conditions and has encouraged her gov- remain in effect until peace was main- ernment to implement reforms, especially tained, export transparency was estab- UNMIL to Help End Sanctions he Head of the United areas, he noted. Nations Mission in Liberia, Van Bockstael, who originated the Alan Doss, meanwhile, has global certificate scheme for diamonds, called on the international underlined the importance of carrying out community to work with the a geological assessment in Liberia and Tcountry’s government to pave the way for putting in place the tracking and internal the lifting of the sanctions banning dia- control system which would also prevent mond exports by putting in place the nec- diamonds smuggled from other countries essary mechanisms. from passing through Liberia. “Liberians are anxious to get the sanc- The KPCS delegation was in Liberia tions lifted so that people are not deprived to help the government meet the bench- of a legitimate source of income,” he said marks for compliance and eventual mem- after meeting Mark Van Bockstael, the bership with the scheme, a necessary step founding chair of the Kimberley Process efforts made by the Kimberly Process in to lift the UN Security Council sanctions Certification Scheme (KPCS) Working Liberia, Doss said that UNMIL would on the export of Liberian rough diamonds. Group of Diamond Experts, and Leslie continue to help the government by pro- The sanctions have been in place since Wright, a KPCS consulting geologist. The viding air support for surveillance activi- 2001 and are reviewed by the Security meeting took place in Monrovia early ties in the mining areas. UNMIL is also Council every six months, most recently February. prepared to assist the Land, Mines and on 20 December. Expressing his appreciation for the Energy Ministry in the mapping of mining

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 17 IInnaauugguurraattiioonn PP

First Lady of the United States, Laura Bush, and daughter Barbara touch down in Monrovia

A French delegation arrives at Roberts International Airport

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, accompanied by his wife, flies in to join the inauguration of the first female Head of State in Africa

Nigerian President arrives

President John Kufuor of Ghana is welcomed on arrival

Airport arrival photos by Michal Broza/UNMIL 18 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 PPhhoottoo GGaalllleerryy

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush at the Capitol

Soccer legend George Weah keenly follows the inauguration proceedings

UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette flanked by Presidents Obasanjo and Mbeki Chief Justice Henry Cooper greets the audience

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 19 ON THE CARPET: LUIZ CARLOS DA COSTA “Rule of Law Faces Immense Challenges…” and UNMIL Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-GGeneral Luiz Civilian Police conduct joint patrols regu- larly. Our target is to have a properly Carlos da Costa, a veteran of several UN peacekeeping trained and equipped police force of 3,500 missions, is in charge of Operations and Rule of Law dock- men and women who will uphold interna- ets at UNMIL. In an interview with Editor Mathew tional policing standards and respect for Elavanalthoduka, he discusses the challenges facing Liberia human rights. in reintroducing respect for the Rule of Law after several Simultaneously, we have also been years of civil strife, UNMIL’s efforts to nurture a culture of assisting Liberian authorities to rehabili- tate and reopen the dilapidated police sta- human rights in the country and the role the Truth and tions throughout the country. So far, 62 Reconciliation Commission can play in healing the wounds police stations have been renovated and of war. re-commissioned, covering all the 15 counties in the country. With help from UNMIL, UNICEF and NGOs, Liberia now has a Women and Children Protection As the Secretary-General’s Deputy for a new police force in July 2004 at the Unit. This must be looked at against the Special Representative in Liberia, you newly reopened National Police Academy fact that women and children constituted are tasked to help improve the Rule of in Paynesville, Monrovia. More than the most vulnerable segment of the Law situation in a country that has just 2,000 police recruits have so far under- Liberian society during the civil war. begun recovering from a prolonged civil gone training and the majority of them are strife. What are the major challenges in already deployed throughout the country. However, Liberia’s national police this area? These newly trained police played a sig- face severe restrictions, of resources, There has been a total collapse of law nificant part in maintaining security during infrastructure, logistics and equipment. A enforcement agencies in Liberia during the the recent elections. We continue monitor- majority of police facilities are in a state of 14 years of civil war, so the challenges to ing and mentoring them. Members of the disrepair and the availability of basic reintroduce respect for Rule of Law in the country are immense. Courts didn’t work, law enforcers themselves had become law- breakers, might was right. It was like a Hobbesian scenario.

UNMIL is currently involved in restructuring and reforming the police and rehabilitating the judicial and corrections systems. We are also in the forefront of protecting and promoting human rights in addition to our efforts to help Liberia stamp out gender-based violence and dis- crimination.

How is UNMIL helping rebuild a pro- fessional police in Liberia? UNMIL’s mandate includes building a professional, well-trained police force in Liberia as part of a broad security sector reform. We began the training programme

20 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 requirements and supplies is minimal. instilling respect for human rights among Judiciary? the newly trained police force in the coun- Liberia’s Judiciary has been starved of Security sector reform also has anoth- try. UNMIL has also started a bi-monthly funding for many years. Members of the er critical component - that of restructur- report on the human rights situation in Judiciary have been paid pitifully low ing and rebuilding a new armed forces for Liberia, which has received widespread salaries, and some of them haven’t Liberia. A professionally trained army that media coverage. We have human rights received their salaries for many years. The will be fully subjected to civilian control. monitors assigned to the regions and we situation has been exacerbated by the lack We are still in the early stages of the also provide support to human rights vic- of qualified lawyers, prosecutors and restructuring and rebuilding of the army, tims in various ways. defence counsel. There are only some 200 but the United States has taken the lead in lawyers in the entire country, with just this area and committed the badly needed about 50 in the private bar. So many mag- funds for this. isterial and specialized courts continue to be staffed by unqualified personnel. Liberia is a country where human rights have been trampled upon for UNMIL has helped in the completion many years, where only jungle laws pre- of the vetting process and commissioning vailed. What is the role of UNMIL in of judicial officers for all circuit, special- helping Liberia develop a human rights ized and magisterial courts. We have also culture? helped the reopening of most of the courts This is indeed a huge task. in the counties. Under UNMIL’s Quick Implementing human rights in a post-con- Impact Projects, 13 courts have been ear- flict situation is by itself a major chal- marked for renovation and currently six lenge. In the case of Liberia, this is even such projects are underway with two of more due to the long years of human rights them already completed. violations carried out with impunity. To begin with, this is an issue of changing the UNMIL has also assisted the national whole mind-set of a people. The majority authorities in bringing about legislative of them have seen only war in their entire reforms such as the landmark Rape Law, lives. Human Trafficking Law, the Jury Law, and a law offering the Judiciary financial Recruits train at the Police Academy UNMIL has supported the creation of autonomy. UNMIL has also conducted the Independent National Commission on several training workshops for prosecu- Human Rights, which was adopted by the Can the TRC help end the culture of tors, county attorneys, solicitors, court National Transitional Assembly in March impunity in this country and foster rec- clerks and legal aid providers in addition last year. This was part of the onciliation? to providing basic assistance to the Louise Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The The TRC is a critical institution envis- Arthur Law School. Commission will monitor Liberia’s com- aged in the Comprehensive Peace pliance with international human rights Agreement and is designed to address the The challenges in the judicial sector standards, promote human rights educa- issues of impunity. In addition, it will also remain serious. Without an effectively tion and work with national and interna- address the root causes of the Liberian cri- functioning judiciary, law-enforcement, tional partners to promote human rights sis and recommend measures to rehabili- human rights protection and corrections protection in the country. UNMIL will tate the victims of human rights violations. cannot function properly. continue supporting the effective opera- It will conduct thorough investigations tion of the Commission. into gross human rights violations in the Corruption has been a running theme in country starting from January 1979. It can Liberia’s recent history, including even Another significant achievement in the play an invaluable role in healing the in the Transitional Government. Is human rights area is the establishment of a wounds of war and bring about reconcilia- UNMIL supporting efforts to root out Truth and Reconciliation Commission in tion in the society. Already, all the nine corruption that is so ingrained in the the country. In both these cases -- TRC and Commissioners of the TRC have been society? the Human Rights Commission -- UNMIL appointed and the Commission is set to Corruption undermines the Rule of worked very hard with the National start its work very soon. UNMIL will con- Law. We are particularly encouraged by Transitional Government to bring these tinue to offer full support for the work of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf naming institutions into a reality. the Commission. corruption as “enemy number one.” UNMIL will do everything possible to In addition, by providing human rights In what way is the international com- assist the new government in stamping out training as part of the curriculum, we are munity assisting the reform of Liberia’s corruption in the country.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 21 RREEFFUUGGEEEE RREETTUURRNNSS By Annette Rehrl anew by coming back to Liberia through offices in Foya in Lofa County, and UNHCR’s voluntary repatriation opera- Fishtown in River Gee, to assist the arriv- he day Thomas Kamara tion that began in October 2004. While ing returnees. returned with his family from most of the 340,000 Liberian refugees to Meanwhile, urban refugees from a refugee camp in Guinea be repatriated within a three-year time- Nigeria and Ghana also are registering in back to Liberia was one of the frame expressed in 2005 their desire to increasing numbers for repatriation. With brightest days in his life. await the outcome of the elections first Master’s degrees in their pockets, acquired TAfter having lived for 13 years in the before making a definite decision, the during their years in exile, they come back neighbouring country where two of his repatriation movement has witnessed a by chartered flights. children had been born, he reached considerable surge since the new govern- Given the high diversity within the Voinjama in May 2005 to start life anew. ment has been installed. Within just three returnee population, ranging from farmers “I’m the happiest man today. I’m weeks after the inauguration of President going back to remote areas to skilled home. I came back, because I want to be Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, close to 3,000 teachers and nurses, UNHCR has estab- part of the new society which is growing refugees, mainly from Guinea and Sierra lished a variety of reintegration pro- in Liberia. We need to do something for Leone, have headed back home. grammes aimed at making communities our country,” he said on arrival, tears Almost 50 per cent of all these self-sufficient again. Community welling up in his eyes. While his family returnees went back to Lofa County, Empowerment Projects (CEPs), including settled temporarily with relatives in Lofa making it UNHCR’s top area of return, agricultural projects, like swamp rice, cas- County, the trained social worker headed followed by Maryland, Nimba and sava or coffee plantations, skills training, to Monrovia to look for a job. Montserrado. micro-loan programmes, income generat- Eight months later he is now occupied Taking advantage of the dry season ing activities, capacity building for with two different jobs and has brought his and passable roads as well as the planting women, shelter for the vulnerable popula- beloved ones to the capital. “With the new season which goes until April, the tion, water and sanitation projects as well government, I’m confident that things will refugee agency has set every mechanism as the reconstruction of schools, clinics move on. Though it’s still difficult, I never in place to repatriate as many refugees as and health centers, will therefore continue regret that we came back. It was the right possible within the first half of 2006. to be of high priority to the refugee thing to do,” says Thomas when asked About 100,000 refugees are expected to agency. Up to today, over 1,000 such proj- how he was faring. come back during this year, including ects have been completed in major areas of Kamara is only one of nearly 47,000 spontaneous returnees. UNHCR is cur- return. Since communities do decide Liberian refugees* who dared to start rently planning to open new satellite themselves what they need and are

22 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 hand clothes and household articles near- (IDPs) do of course benefit likewise from by. Weedor’s rice sells so well that she UNHCR’s reintegration programmes. Out now thinks of expanding her business and of 314,000 IDPs, which the agency had move into a bigger place. “I make enough committed itself to assisting through the profit to feed my children, send them to inter-agency collaborative approach, over school and to put some money aside,” she 282,000 have already returned to their says. “Without the start-up help of the places of origin. Once back home, former micro loan, it would have been impossi- IDPs, returnees and the residing local ble.” community are encouraged to engage in a While home -coming Liberians receive wide range of activities UNHCR’s immediate assistance, counselling and Implementing Partners offer. Such activi- their return package, comprising non-food ties also aim to enhance the reconciliation items, travel cash grants and the first process between Liberians. tranche of a four-month’s food ration One good example is the town of upon arrival in the Transit Centres, Balama in Bong County where returnees, UNHCR’s protection monitoring and the former IDPs and the local community who implementation of reintegration pro- remained during the war are joining hands grammes carry on even long after their to rebuild a UNHCR funded primary return. Currently, the agency, in close school, which will benefit children from cooperation with its implementing part- several nearby villages. “The war is over,” ners and together with members of the town chief John Golokay says. “Now we Joint Action Plan, UNICEF, UNDP and all must help together, to rebuild our coun- WFP, is working out strategies to have tai- try.” lored reintegration packages ready as soon That’s exactly the mind-set Liberia’s as skilled individuals, like teachers, arrive. newly elected President is encouraging SSUURRGGEE “Collaboration with UN agencies and everyone to emulate. In a statement involved from the planning stage to the other partners will ensure success of addressed to the remaining Liberian completion of the projects, sustainability UNHCR’s efforts and will be subsumed refugees and IDPs, disseminated through is guaranteed. under the longer-term development of UNHCR’s mass information campaign, Nyamah Weedor, for example, a single Liberia,” says UNHCR Representative Johnson-Sirleaf promised to work closely mother of two, approached UNHCR’s Mengesha Kebede, stressing the need for with UNHCR to create a viable environ- implementing partner, American Refugee pulling together. ment for returnees to cohabit peacefully: Committee, in early 2005. The returnee Major reconstruction programmes, “Please be assured that your government from Guinea, where she had spent three like the rehabilitation of roads and bridges, wants you home,” she called Liberians in years in a refugee camp in Kissidougou, are also going on. In 2005 alone, UNHCR exile. “Your other compatriots are await- wanted to engage in a small business. rehabilitated 230 km of roads and 24 ing you to join hands with them in the Together with six other women she pro- bridges, mostly on the main repatriation rebuilding of our nation.” posed a business plan and applied for a axis. A 75 km-long road linking Saclepea * Figures as of 2 February 2006 micro loan. Today she has established a to Logatoe on the Ivorian border will be rice shop at Duala market, Monrovia, finished in February. The writer is a Public Information while her friends sell toiletries, second- Liberia’s internally displaced persons Officer, UNHCR, Liberia Violence Affects Refugees ttacks in mid-January on the tors. Other UN agencies and several inter- other UN and humanitarian workers were offices of the United Nations national NGOs have suffered similar loss- targeted," Mr. Redmond said. "UNHCR AHigh Commissioner for es. Warehouses containing relief items and has been in Guiglo for more than 10 Refugees (UNHCR) in Côte d'Ivoire left food were also looted," spokesman Ron years, working on behalf of refugees and 10,000 Liberians who had fled their Redmond said. the local host population." country without assistance. As violence The agency was forced to evacuate its He voiced concern that the agency struck Guiglo, near the Liberian border, staff from the area after violence spread as has no staff left on the ground to assist the UN agency's office there was hundreds of protesters converged on the more than 10,000 Liberian refugees, destroyed after protesters looted the UN compound. Those incidents followed while relief items -- including food -- premises and set fire to the building. similar protests against the UN in . destined for them have been looted, as "All files were lost, as well as five "UNHCR is shocked at the level of the have the vehicles needed to reach benefi- cars, one motorcycle and three genera- violence and saddened that its staff and ciaries and distribute aid.

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 23 Making Liberia Gun-FFree By Elma Shaw is part of a comprehensive plan to rid times faced by the UNDP Small Arms Liberia of illicit weapons. Participating Control Programme and its partners when wo thousand weapons col- chiefdoms have until June 2006 to return it comes to convincing people to turn in lected in the past two years. remaining weapons in exchange for funds their weapons. Official disarmament and That’s what a group of young from the Small Arms Control Programme demobilization ended in October 2004, Liberians have done in a for community development projects. and those who still possess weapons fear door-to-door campaign to rid Other components of the plan are the revi- they could land in trouble with the author- TLiberian neighbourhoods of arms left over sion of the1956 Firearms Traffic Act, the ities if they come out with them in public. from the back to back civil wars. They establishment of a National Commission Another challenge, according to com- call themselves Liberians United to on Small Arms, and a national public munity members of the management com- Expose Hidden Weapons (LUEHW), and awareness campaign on the dangers of mittees set up to oversee the arms for their work has won kudos from the UNDP small arms. development projects, is the tendency of Small Arms Control Programme, UNMIL The CACD was launched in the three people to hold out for individual incen- security forces and Landmine Action. counties of Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh tives. Some of the ex-combatants and Together, these organizations are working in January. These counties were chosen gun-owners want to be paid for their guns, to make Liberia a gun-free society. for the pilot programme because they just as those who participated in the offi- LUEHW was recently chosen by the served as major battlegrounds in the just cial disarmament process were. UNDP Small Arms Control Programme to ended civil war, and because they share Especially stubborn are those who tried to help create awareness for the Community borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea and turn in weapons during the amnesty but Arms Collection for Development Côte d’Ivoire, all of which have a recent were turned away, either because their (CACD) project in the Bain-Garr history of internal conflicts. weapons were non-functional, or because Chiefdom of Nimba County. The CACD Fear is one of the challenges some- the programme ended despite the fact that the arms were still coming in. Wilfred Kollie is one of those who hung on to his gun – a 45mm pistol – in the hopes of receiving something in return. “In the end I gave it up for the sake of the community,” he said enthusiastically. Since turning in the pistol last June, he works with LUEHW to reach others who still have weapons. Convincing people to give up their arms is not always an easy task. It takes patience, diplomacy and attention to weapon-safety issues. Although some members of the awareness teams and proj- ect management committees are former fighters who say they know how to handle them, bombs, grenades and unknown weapons are not to be touched or moved. This is where UNMIL security forces and Landmine Action come in. Both work as technical partners with the UNDP Small Arms Control Programme to help collect NO MORE GUNS Weapons are destroyed and destroy small arms, light weapons and after collection explosive devices. Landmine Action pro- vides the green collection boxes – a large Jasper Kai

24 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 one for guns and a small one for ammuni- tion. Together with members of LUEHW, they demonstrate proper use of the boxes, help communities choose effective sites Recruitment Begins for their boxes and educate people about the proper procedure for dealing with explosives. Their work makes people con- for New Army fident that development and poverty reduction will be a consequence of arms 1989. The UN Security Council removal from their communities. When an By J. Wesley Washington Resolution 1509 mandated UNMIL to explosive device is found or ready to be assist the creation of a professional army turned in by its owner, the nearby UNMIL eenly aspiring to serve and for Liberia as part of a broad security sec- battalion is informed by the Liberia defend Liberia, hundreds of tor reform. National Police. The area is soon fenced unemployed youths, ex- The United States government has off, and red flags are placed around the combatants and even for- taken the lead in restructuring Liberia’s perimeter to warn civilians to keep out. mer members of the defunctK (AFL) armed forces. In early 2005, the US gov- The UNMIL battalion’s explosive ord- ernment contracted the project to a pri- nance experts are sent to take the device thronged a former military barracks in vately owned security company, DynCorp, away as soon as possible, and the weapon Monrovia mid January as a nationwide a US-based government contractor. It will is detonated safely. recruitment exercise for Liberia’s new pay US$100 million to DynCorp over On the first day of the CACD launch in national army began. three years to assist with recruiting, train- Foya City, Lofa County, the UNDP Small “I’ve always wanted to join the army, ing and equipping of a new army of some Arms Control Programme staff was but I didn’t want to join an untrained army 2,000 soldiers, including 94 civil servants besieged by citizens who had weapons and that was basically engaged in looting, van- for the Defence Ministry. explosives to turn in. Unlike their Ganta dalism and human rights abuses. Now that Initially planned for 4,000 strong, the counterparts, the Foya citizens had no fear this army will be trained to international size of the new army was scaled down due of arrest and requested no individual standards, I want to be a part of it,” said to government’s budgetary constraints. awards for doing what they saw as a serv- Peter Tweh, 27, standing patiently in the The restructured army will reflect ethnic, ice to their community and to their coun- queue. He recently returned to Liberia religious and geographical balance and try. Lt. Zia ul Haq of Battalion IV after living in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana as will include new recruits as well as eligi- spent two busy days going with his troops a refugee for 10 years. ble former soldiers. Applicants must have to secure sites where explosives were Like Tweh, hundreds of men and a minimum of a high school education, be uncovered. Among them were six RPG women braved the scorching sun and cold able to pass an aptitude and physical fit- M-57s, several grenades and a Bangalore nights on the concrete pavement outside ness test, a medical exam, including an torpedo. In addition, six guns (five AK- the Barclay Training Center on the United HIV and illegal drugs use test, and also MS and one Chinese 81-1), three maga- Nations Drive. Liberians who fought must have a clean human rights record. All zines, 42 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition. against each other just a few years ago are applicants, including the former soldiers “This is the best time for the arms col- now vying for a chance to serve together will be put through a strict vetting process, lection process,” said Nick Sanders of in a new restructured army. which may run throughout the one-year Landmine Action. “It needs to be done Initial days saw brawls breaking out mandatory probation for all recruits. while UNMIL is still here, otherwise chil- among enthusiastic applicants attempting “Liberians who have been witnesses to dren and farmers are going to be the unfor- to reach the registration desk, forcing or victims of any human rights violations tunate victims in this post-conflict situa- police intervention to pacify the crowd. by any of the applicants can call hotline tion.” But a change in procedure soon helped numbers that will be published so that the Mansoor Sadiq Rana, Captain of improve the registration exercise consider- allegations can be investigated,” said a Pakistan Battalion IV, was also pleased ably. Applicants were issued with admis- spokesperson for DynCorp. with the process. “This has exceeded my sion tickets indicating the date they were Training is expected to be held over a expectations,” he said. “Usually it would expected to report for registration and ini- 15-week period. Recruits will learn basic take four or five months to recover what tial tests in batches of 120, two days a military rules and regulations, skills and UNDP Small Arms has gotten in just two week. techniques, and how to use weapons. They days.” The 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement among parties to the conflict will also take courses in the Rule of Law, the Constitution, human rights and gender The writer is a National Media called for the restructuring of the AFL issues, while simultaneously attending Consultant, UNDP Small Arms Control which became a factional army after the classes to bolster their educational level. Programme start of the civil uprising in December

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 25 RegainingRegaining thethe “Cuttingt“Cuttingtonon Edge”Edge” By Serif Turgut Taylor’s National Patriotic Front. When it laboratories and bury the chemicals here reopened in 1998, during the brief respite behind the campus. Our laboratories are wo years after Liberia's pro- from the civil war, Cuttington was a shell not anywhere near international stan- longed civil strife ended, the of its former self. Most of the professors dards.” adds Gray. once famous Cuttington had fled. It was not until UNMIL peacekeepers University is back to life and “All the international people and established security in Bong County in its sprawling 1,500-acre cam- Liberians with Ph.Ds ran away. They may 2004 that Cuttington was able to reopen Tpus, dotted with tropical trees, is bustling now be filtering back slowly. Cuttington is the campus and begin its rebuilding. with activity. The university is located just improving to become the very internation- UNMIL also deployed Military Observers outside of Gbarnga, which Liberians call al university it used to be but it is very on the campus to ensure security. the second capital, in part because of the hard to rebuild academic excellence. “We feel more secure now with university, the only institution of higher That’s our biggest struggle,” says UNMIL,” University President Henrique learning outside of Monrovia. Professor James Gray, the Dean of Social F. Tokpa says. “Ouick impact projects, The only private university in West Sciences and a former Peace Corps volun- USAID and the Episcopal Church helped and sub-Saharan Africa for decades, teer. The university is currently recruiting to build our roofs and buildings. We have Cuttington was founded in 1889. It is the academicians from abroad while encour- several UN projects, like the UNICEF alma mater of prominent Liberian and aging former Liberian instructors to teacher training and certification pro- African figures. At one time, just under return. grammes as well as projects supported by half of Liberia’s civil servants were Cuttington’s needs are not restricted to UNDP’s Joint Implementation Unit.” Cuttington alumni. The majority of the a better academic faculty. Rebel combat- The university has welcomed into its country’s doctors also graduated from this ants had looted everything, including the classrooms some of the very ex-combat- reputed institution. Numerous internation- Africana Museum collection. Several of ants who had contributed to its decima- al scholars have graced the university’s the university’s buildings were also totally tion. Currently, Cuttington has 180 former faculty. After graduation, many of its inter- destroyed including the libraries, laborato- combatants attending a UNDP-JIU funded national and local students went abroad for ries, dormitories and classrooms. agricultural training, producing vegetables further studies, mainly in the United “One of the things we ask the interna- and establishing chicken farms at the large States. tional community to help us with is to university campus. In addition, 240 former However, Cuttington’s history could rebuild our laboratories. When we came fighters attend regular academic pro- not save it from the war. It was closed in back as the war ended, we had essentially grammes with UNDP funding their tuition. 1990 and was soon converted into a train- a soup of toxic chemicals, dumped all over “There is almost no difference between ing ground by rebels belonging to Charles the chemistry labs. We had to clean our ex-combatants and regular students. Most

26 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 NEW BEGINNING Classes have resumed at Cuttington Marjorea Ballada people don’t know who is who. We treat “Earlier, most of our grants and books hope UNMIL will stay long in Liberia to them equally,” says Gray. were coming from the government. But offer them security and ask the interna- Cuttington is also the first university in now we don’t receive any government tional community to help them get books Liberia which has an Institute for Peace support. Eighty per cent of our income is and laboratories. And with Ellen Johnson- and Conflict Resolution. “The Institute is coming from the students’ tuition, which is Sirleaf, who has walked the hallowed halls Cuttington’s response to the instability in very hard to collect now,” says Tokpa, of the famous , elected which Liberia has found itself since 1980. himself a Cuttington graduate. Liberia’s new President, they await strong Beyond that, it is an example for how Cuttington University today has 1,549 support for their university from the new peace and stability can come to West students, nearly half of them female. All of government. Soon, they hope, the univer- Africa. The institute seeks to train schol- them have dreams of a bright future. They sity will regain its “cutting edge.” ars, researchers, decision makers catalyz- ing for peace,” says its Director Dr. Joseph Saye Guannu, a historian and a former Liberian Ambassador to the U.S. “We have a strong relationship with the University for Peace, with its head- quarters in Costa Rica. It is a UN institu- tion. They are supporting us in building our capacity. They send us to conferences to build our capacity and arrange work- shops. Because we are connected to the UN University, we receive substantial assistance from UNDP and UNESCO. They give us books and cassettes. We have also received assistance from USAID,” Guannu continues. There is still a long way to go for this once famous institution. There is an acute shortage of course books. The university lacks even the most basic services like photocopying machines. GOOD OLD DAYS Elegantly dressed female students at a garden party at the university in 1962

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 27 Classrooms Come By Annette Rehrl Nimba, Lofa and Gbarpolu Counties, with of Bong County. But by September, it had up to 1,500 students attending per year. once more become a symbol of hope. Then the civil war came. All of a sud- After two months of intense labour, 80 n the top of a hill, outside den education and culture became largely local workers had transformed it from a the city of Gbarnga, a sym- irrelevant – relegated to mere memories in ruin back into an educational establish- bol of true prosperity over- the minds of those who longed for the ment and Dolokelen Gboveh High School looks Liberia's war-torn return of peace and normality. In the mid- reopened its doors to students. Bong County: it is 1990s, the school was partly destroyed by The work was funded and supported in DolokelenO Gboveh High School, once the Charles Taylor's forces. Then, in 2002, other ways – for example in the provision most prestigious – indeed only – govern- armed rebels belonging to LURD of 450 desks – by the UN refugee agency, ment-run secondary school in northern (Liberians United for Reconciliation and UNHCR. Ahmed Conteh, the Project Liberia's Bong County. Democracy) vandalized or demolished Manager for African Concern

PICKING UP Dolokelen School has reopened its doors

Since it first opened its doors in 1956, what was left. International (ACI) – the agency’s NGO it laid solid academic foundations for sev- Many of the gunmen belonging to the partner – even attributes a reduction in the eral generations of future lawyers, doctors various armed factions that tore Liberia crime rate in Gbarnga to the employment and scholars, some of whom later made apart were children or teenagers, who a of so many men to rebuild the school over their way to Europe and America – a fact generation earlier would have been sitting several months. that still fills the citizens of Gbarnga with behind a desk in a school, learning history The residents of Gbarnga have wel- pride even today. Over the decades, the or mathematics. comed the reconstruction of the high school attracted thousands of young men In early July 2005, the school still school as an important step in the effort to and women from Bong and neighbouring looked like an open wound to the people steer Liberia's youth towards a more

28 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 wants to debate social concerns and Meanwhile, UNHCR is encouraging embark on peace education and reconcili- Liberian teachers and doctors to come ation workshops. back from neighbouring countries of asy- So far, some 200 students have lum, through its Skilled Labour enrolled. The Principal, however, expects Programme. The main aim of this reinte- Alive the student population to rise to as many as gration project is to make it possible for peaceful future. Volunteers patrol on a reg- 900. "Even some ex-fighters are serious skilled returnees like doctors, nurses, engi- ular basis to ensure the safety of the com- about going back to school and learning neers or teachers to quickly assimilate into pound and have promised to build a fence now," he says. "We have to bring them society, through the immediate provision around it. They are eager not to see their back to school, if we want them to have a of a livelihood, agricultural kits and assis- school, and all the hopes that it has raised, future." In the case of former child sol- tance through micro-financing as well as a ruined again. diers, the school's relatively modest fees roof to sleep under. "Our minds are finally reawakening," (around US$22 per semester) are paid by Back in Dolokelen Gboveh High says the school's Principal, Edwin G. the UN Development Programme. School, the school day comes to an end. Kwakpae, who struggled through the terri- The situation confronting Liberian Sarina, a 24 year-old student, sits quietly ble years following the school's destruc- teachers is still creating headaches for in the second row. She recently won a tion in 1997. Now, walking along the cor- Kwakpae: "Right now we have 26 teach- Bong County "Best Student" award, and ridors past the nine classrooms in the ers on the government's payroll," he says. will soon participate in the nation-wide building's two main wings, he exudes an "But their pay is too low. That's why they contest. Everybody is proud of her. air of renewed self-confidence: "This is a are looking for other jobs." As civil ser- "Girls and women can make a big dif- cardinal institution, not only for our vants, teachers currently earn about 1,245 ference," she says, smiling shyly. "We can County, but for the whole of northern Liberian Dollars a month (around US$21). do things men do. We do them even better. Liberia. It's reassuring to see things However, some hope rests with the It's time for us to take over," she adds. Her improving." Governance and Economic Management classmates – male and female – agree. The paint on the walls is still fresh. Assistance Programme (GEMAP) and of Seeing them studying again, working Inside the classrooms, students over the course, the new government of President eagerly towards a better future, should not age of 15 (some in their early 20s) sit Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Among other aims, come as a surprise. After all, they are stu- attentively at their desks, listening to the GEMAP is expected to ensure regular pay- dents of the famous Dolokelen Gboveh teacher. Today’s timetable includes his- ment of decent salaries to civil servants as High School. And a saying, written on the tory, chemistry and mathematics lessons. part of the effort to reduce corruption in school's Auditorium wall, which has sur- They are excited. The students' association Liberia. vived the destruction, reads: "Aim high.” First Human Trafficking Case in Court By Yuko Maeda trafficking enjoy impunity. The LNP’s detectives specialized in According to the UN Police sexual abuse and gender-based violence fter seven months since the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the UN immediately launched investigations enactment of the Anti-Human Mission in Liberia, which mentors the while assisting the victim to receive med- Trafficking Law, a Liberian LNP’s Women’s and Children’s Protection ical examination and treatment. The LNP court is now trying a teenage Unit, the teenage suspect allegedly found enough evidence to file a case for A deceived her 13-year-old step sister to fol- human trafficking under the new law, girl for three counts of human trafficking offence for the first time in the country’s low her to Monrovia where the victim was based on the findings that the suspect history. The case, filed by the recently cre- sold for sex to a man at a night club. After reportedly brought the victim to her house ated Women’s and Children’s Protection the alleged rape, the UN Police says, the without the knowledge of the victim’s Unit of the Liberian National Police victim managed to run back to her grand- guardian, kept her there for a few days and (LNP), is a litmus test for Liberia’s strug- mother, her legal custodian, who later facilitated her rape for money. “It consti- gling justice system, emerging from years reported the incident to the LNP’s tutes human trafficking by law,” says UN of war that saw crimes related to human Protection Unit. contd. page 30

Decenber 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 29 The TRC Constituted By Bipin Adhikari while the Office of the High Liberia, the TRC is mandated to conduct, Commissioner for Human Rights among other things, a thorough investiga- he Truth and Reconciliation (OHCHR) has nominated the third mem- tion into gross human rights violations Commission (TRC), one of ber. All ITAC members are ECOWAS within two years and publish a report doc- the critical institutions envis- nationals. These members enjoy all rights umenting its findings. The temporal juris- aged by the Comprehensive and privileges accorded to the diction of the TRC runs from January Peace Agreement, has now Commissioners except that they do not 1979 through 14 October 2003 with a win- Tbeen constituted. have the right to vote. dow of opportunity to examine historical The Chairman of the National While appointments are made, there incidents that had a direct bearing on the Transitional Government of Liberia has been debate among Commissioners civil war. The TRC will also “recommend” (NTGL), Charles Gyude Bryant, appoint- whether the Commission should be inau- amnesty for persons who make full disclo- ed nine commissioners for the Truth and gurated irrespective of the funding situa- sures of their wrongs and express remorse Reconciliation Commission in October. tion. The consensus seems to be that it for their acts. However, the amnesty will The Commissioners were appointed after a would be desirable to proceed with the not apply to serious violations of interna- long participatory process in accordance commissioning although such a move tional humanitarian law and crimes against with the TRC Act which was passed by the would set in motion the three month humanity. The TRC will also make recom- National Transitional Legislative preparatory period provided for in the Act. mendations to the government about repa- Assembly on 22 June 2005 amidst a com- Following the three months, the rations and the need for legal and other plex and politically challenging environ- Commission must begin its activities in institutional reforms in the country. ment. With this appointment, the contro- earnest. Commissioners argue that confer- Once inaugurated, the TRC is likely to versy surrounding the TRC members ring authority on them would help them run for at least two years culminating in a appointed by Chairman Bryant in January mobilize resources both within and outside final report. Thus, should the Commission 2004 without the authority of an enabling Liberia. Prospects for funding are encour- be inaugurated in early March 2006, the law, came to an end. aging as the government of Liberia and the process will run at least through March Additionally, the Economic international community have taken con- 2008. The newly elected President of Community of West African States siderable interest in the modalities of sup- Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has already (ECOWAS) has already nominated two port for the TRC. spoken of her full support to the TRC and members to the TRC International Intended to heal the wounds of the its mandate. This indeed is a good begin- Technical Advisory Committee (ITAC), past and reconcile all political divisions in ning. police officer Mykola Martynov. The case commercial sexual exploitation or illicit in taking statements from witnesses and was sent to the Juvenile Court at the end of removal of human organs. If found guilty, interrogating suspects, and provides trans- January and hearings began in mid perpetrators may face from one year to a port for emergency cases during investiga- February. maximum of life imprisonment. tions. According to the law enacted by the The trafficking case in the juvenile As a leading member of the National former National Transitional Government court involving the two teenage girls Task Force on Human Trafficking, the UN of Liberia in June last year, trafficking in marks a triumph of the specialized police police trafficking unit is now engaged in persons involves the following three forms unit of the Women’s and Children’s developing a National Plan for the of criminal elements for the purpose of Protection established last September with Prevention of Trafficking in Persons that exploitation: (1) the recruitment, trans- support from the UN children’s agency contains training programmes for law portation, transfer or harbouring of human UNICEF, UNMIL police and NGOs. enforcement agencies and other relevant beings; (2) the receipt of persons by means Behind the successful arrest of the sus- organizations and information campaign of threat or use of force or coercion; or (3) pect and the filing of the case is the tireless activities for ordinary citizens. “The con- by the exchange of payment or benefits to assistance of UNMIL police’s Trafficking cept of human trafficking is still new to achieve consent of a person to have con- in Persons Unit. The five-member unit Liberia. It is not seen as a serious crime in trol over another person. Exploitation by monitors the activities of the Women’s and the country,” says Martynov. This first definition can be keeping a person under Children’s Unit day and night and mentors case of human trafficking may help slavery, compelling a person to provide national police officers dealing with change such a regressive cultural forced labour, exploiting prostitution of human trafficking cases. The UN police outlook. another, engaging in any other form of trafficking unit assists the national police

30 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 First Corrections Officers Graduate By Yuko Maeda Congratulating the new officers at a focus on the humane treatment of those graduation ceremony held at the Police individuals and groups incarcerated.” irst graduates of a year-long cor- Academy on the outskirts of Monrovia, Also addressing the graduates, Marjo rections officers training course Luiz Carlos da Costa, Deputy Special Callaghan, Head of UNMIL’s Corrections have been deployed to correc- Representative of UN Secretary-General Advisory Unit, cited the words of the tions facilities throughout Liberia for Operations and Rule of Law, reminded famous Russian author Dostoevsky, who F them of their crucial responsibility to said “one can determine the morality of a for the first time in over two decades. The 24 officers, including six country by the way it treats its prisoners.” women, graduated on 10 February Graduates receive certificates She urged the new officers to reflect on from the training course run by the the statement when they perform their Ministry of Justice and the duties and cautioned that the role of a cor- Corrections Advisory Unit of the UN rections officer is “not to punish” Mission in Liberia. They underwent detainees but to keep their colleagues and classroom lectures on rule of law, prisoners safe. human rights, criminal justice and the In addition to UNMIL’s corrections role of a corrections officer and advisors, experts from the International received intensive on-the-job training Committee of the Red Cross and the at corrections institutions in the coun- Centre for Victims of Torture also gave try. lectures to the first graduating class. As The first batch of the graduates representatives from the UNMIL and the was immediately deployed to four facili- uphold basic human rights protection. “As two NGOs and proud friends and relatives ties in Monrovia, Kakata, Buchanan and a corrections officer, you will be dealing of the graduating officers watched the cer- Gbarnga. Liberia now has eight functional with human beings who, although they emony, the new officers proudly received corrections facilities across the country, have broken the law, have human rights their certificates. which house nearly 500 inmates in total. and dignity. It is imperative that you also Anti-rrape Campaign Launched he United Nations Mission in Describing rape as one of the cruelest sexual violence and abuse. Liberia launched a nationwide forms of violence against women, Doss Forh, a role model for the Liberian anti-rape campaign early called on Liberia’s men to protect the youth, said that the rape rate had increased TFebruary to enhance public rights of women, not abuse them. He dramatically during Liberia’s 14-year con- awareness of this serious crime and to stressed the importance of reporting rape flict and now that the country is at peace, encourage victims of rape to report it to and pointed out that under Liberia’s new it is time for everyone to resolutely the police and seek medical assistance. Rape Law, perpetrators will receive life address the issue. She urged victims of The campaign was kicked off at a concert imprisonment. He also told the audience rape to report it to the Liberian National at the Sports Commission in downtown Police (LNP) and UN Police, adding that Monrovia featuring musical and cultural it was never too late to bring their abuser artists, including popular Senegal-based to justice. She also spoke about rape’s Liberian musician, Peter Cole, and reign- relation to the spread of HIV/AIDS. ing Miss Liberia, Snorti Forh. Cole, a West African pop icon, who “We’ve ended one battle in Liberia, postponed his return to Senegal in order but now we must fight a new battle – the to support the UN effort, led the audience battle to protect the people, especially in singing the song he wrote especially women and children, of this country,” for the campaign: “It’s my body, don’t said Special Representative Alan Doss, Snorti Forh spreads you force me. If you force me, it’s a anti-rape message flagging off the campaign. “Rape crime.” destroys lives just as easily as a bullet or a that UN personnel serving in the country In the weeks ahead, UNMIL will carry knife,” he said, underlining the horror of were not held to any different standard. “If out the anti-rape campaign across Liberia, the crime and the effects it has on the vic- any UN peacekeepers are guilty of this starting with similar musical and cultural tims. He promised that the United Nations crime, let us know so that they can be held performances in Zwedru, Gbarnga and would campaign to ensure that victims accountable,” he said, reiterating the orga- Tubmanburg. have access to the help needed. nizations’s zero tolerance policy against

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 31 Let’s Hear the Voice of Youth By Marjorea Ballada the rest of the world would enjoy. Kolleh the school-age children attend school due now finds himself the oldest student in his to poverty and three in four young people mmanuel Kolleh has a vision. 10th grade class. cannot find formal employment on the job He wakes up every morning “I feel fine that I’m back to school. It market. Frustrated with the cycle of pover- with a belief that each sunrise has always been my dream to finish ty, poor education and vocational skills takes him one step closer to school,” he says about his delayed school- and lack of opportunities, some resort to his biggest dream in life -- to ing. “It’s about time that (the government substance abuse or criminal activities. Egraduate from high school, earn a little leaders) pay attention to our problems... Now that peace has returned and a new money and buy his own taxi to make a liv- There are many other people like me who government is in place, they want change. ing. would like to go to school and live normal They want their voice heard and their gov-

HEAR OUR VOICE! Liberian youth throng a political rally during the election campaign

So every morning, the 28-year-old lives.” ernment to respond to their needs. Young dons his bright yellow uniform and heads Kolleh is one of tens of thousands of Liberians say they yearn for what they to school with his vision in mind. young Liberians who lost their normal missed out -- access to quality education Sometimes, during his long walks to adolescence to the civil war. In the and vocational training, better employ- school, he recalls the days he spent hiding destructive culture of violence and hatred, ment opportunities, improved health serv- in the bush to escape the cruelty of the many youngsters were neglected and ices and organizational strength to influ- gangsters marauding the streets in his forced to find a way to survive. A number ence national policies on youth. town in Bong County. Sadly, the long of youth mastered the art of looting and That is the essence of the Kakata years of civil war disrupted his schooling random killing of their own people. The Declaration, adopted in August last year at and other normal activities the teenagers in wounds are deep. Still now, only half of a national youth conference in Kakata,

32 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 Margibi County, by youth representatives from all over the country. More than 200 representatives attended the conference, where they mapped out issues and con- cerns the youth currently face, adopted a resolution for each of the issues and declared their renewed commitment to the national reconstruction efforts. In the declaration, the young popula- tion points out a variety of issues: lack of gender equity, inadequate educational facilities, shortage of qualified teaching staff, poor job training and opportunities, acute poverty and hunger, impunity, crisis of traditional culture, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and widespread drug abuse. They also discuss the needs of the dis- abled, the participation of youth in politics and the information gap between urban and rural Liberia. “We had the idea that we were going to Young people queue up to cast vote during the recent election Kakata to listen to the young people,” recalled Gilbert Ngesu, a Civil Affairs officer with the UN Mission in Liberia, give you the education that you asked for New President Ellen and the skills training that we know you one of the driving forces to organize the Johnson-SSirleaf is well conference. It was a joint effort by the desire. We shall actively pursue the Kakata Ministry of Youth and Sports, the umbrel- aware of youth’s concerns Declaration… and a National Youth Policy la body Federation of Liberian Youth, the and Programme.” and has reassured her gov- However, a lot of work has yet to be UN family including UNDP and UNICEF ernment’s commitment to and international NGOs to let the voice of done to meet the goals specified in the youth heard and integrated in the govern- meeting their needs. “We declaration. It is apparent that the new ment’s development agenda. “We needed government alone cannot deliver what will build your capacity and young Liberians demand. Ngesu suggests to hear them talk about what really are empower you to enable you their key issues. So we brought them much of the burden lies on the youth them- together and motivated them to talk.” meaningfully participate in selves. The essence of the declaration was “No one can ever pull you out of a pit. the reconstruction of your You have to pull yourself out of it. Others later consolidated into the first-ever draft country,” she told the youth National Youth Policy, a guiding principle can only help you get out,” he repeatedly for designing and implementing national in her inaugural speech. tells the youth. “The energy to get out of activities and programmes for the develop- that pit belongs to you. So there has to be ment of youth. The draft policy, accepted improvement of information access, and commitment to your own cause.” by youth representatives in December at the enactment of laws prohibiting discrim- Patience Heah, an Executive Board another national conference in Monrovia ination against young women. These member and Treasurer of the Federation of and to be submitted to the new legislature objectives are linked to the United Nations Liberian Youth, says young individuals for adoption into a law, addresses a num- Millennium Development Goals, which need to build their own capacity to achieve ber of key issues on youth and suggests a aim to achieve the eradication of extreme their goals. “They should organize them- national action plan to deliver what the poverty, universal primary education and selves and form their own community- youth need. gender equality, among others. based organizations where they can utilize In the action plan, for example, the New President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is their talents,” she says. “From there, their youth demand a new school curriculum well aware of youth’s concerns and has capacity will be built.” addressing the needs of drop-outs and the reassured her government’s commitment For Kolleh and many others, going disabled, youth-friendly credit schemes to meeting their needs. “We will build back to school must be the first step to pull promoting entrepreneurship, and better your capacity and empower you to enable oneself out of a pit. They now need more access to public health education. They you meaningfully participate in the recon- support to help them walk the long road. also call for an increase in training pro- struction of your country,” she told the grammes for traditional artisans, the youth in her inaugural speech. “We will

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 33 UNICEF/Robert Grossman S water supply. with safe 6,000 people more than providing been installed, Forty tankshave communities. tion ofaffected the activeparticipa- safe drinkingwaterwith is designedtoimproveaccess Managed Water Tankproject project. The benefiting fromUNICEF’s Community Monrovia communitiesthatarecurrently for this.” great helptous. Truly, weareveryhappy 72. “TheseUNICEFwatertanksareof times wecouldn’t dothat,”saysKollie, course duringthewar, thereweremany taminated, wehadtoboilitfirstandof some twokilometersaway. water ferriedinfromBushrodIsland, banks oftheMessuradoRivertopurchase and hisfamilyhadtolineupalongthe B 34 “By asking Jallah Town communityisoneofeight “The BushrodIslandwaterwascon- NI OU December 2005- February 2006 FOCUS UNMIL a was launched,JallahKollie nity ineasternMonrovia in theJallah Town commu- Managed Water Tankproject efore theCommunity f e W W a nity towardsthewatersupplyareusedasa group. “Contributionspaidbythecommu- Jallah isamemberofthemanagement appointed bythecommunity. Ebenezer UNICEF watertanksmanagedbyateam age 5. for 22percentofdeathsinchildrenunder big childkillers.Diarrhoeaisresponsible Monrovia, especiallyforchildren.” part inbuildingahealthyenvironment clearing awaygarbageheaps,anessential raised fromsellingthewater, including doing greatprojectswiththesmallmoney Angela Kearney. “Thecommunitiesare says UNICEFLiberiaRepresentative active interestintheirlocalwatersupply,” is encouragingcommunitiestotakean cost tomaintainthewatertanks,UNICEF households tocontributeaportionofthe t eovn ud”sy alh Aportion revolving fund,”saysJallah.“A Jallah Town Communityhasthreenew In Liberia,diarrhoeaandcholeraare e of thesecontributionsareusedto pay forthemaintenanceof facilities andanothertopayan r honorarium totheteamthat S services thewater S tanks.” after Liberia’s 14-year civil During and a v e Promotion. for Water, SanitationandHygiene Kabuka Banda,UNICEF’s Project Officer which isendemicinMonrovia,” says water causesdiseasessuch as cholera, dren themselvesunderstand that unsafe friendly learningenvironmentsothatchil- motion, UNICEFispromotingachild- munity level. of healthyhygienepracticesatthecom- community organizations inthepromotion water. UNICEFisalsosupportinglocal mostly schoolchildren,withsafedrinking repaired, providingover300,000people, water facilitieshavebeenconstructedor counties. As aresult,morethan1,000 water facilitiesinUNICEF’s sevenfocus construct sanitationandsafedrinking schools andlocalcountyauthoritiesto F. KennedyMedicalCenter, andhelped Liberia’s largest referralhospital,theJohn also supportedtheCholeraUnitat drinking water. City Corporation(MCC)toprovidesafe Liberian governmentandtheMonrovia cholera, UNICEFissupportingthe borne diseasessuchasdiarrheaand to adequatesanitation. third ofMonrovia’s populationhasaccess access tosafedrinkingwater. Lessthana Monrovia’s populationstilldoesnothave themselves, morethan50percentof increasing involvementofhouseholds government andUNICEF, aswell as the conflict in1990. by White Plainswasdestroyedduringthe main watersupplyfacilitylocatedinnear- health problem,especiallyasthecapital’s tion ofcontaminatedwaterisamajor ities, poorhygienepracticesandtheinges- which tooklives,”saysKollie. ing waterandthisledtocholeraoutbreaks found itverydifficult toobtainsafedrink- most ofthecountry’s population.“We had has beenamajorproblemconfrontingthe war, theavailabilityofsafedrinkingwater s “By trainingteachersinhygienepro- Over thepastthreeyearsUNICEFhas In thefightagainstpreventablewater- Despite thecontinuingefforts ofthe In Monrovia,inadequatesanitaryfacil- L L i v e s Helping Victims of Leprosy

By Eliane Van De Velde chairs, clinic cards and prostheses remind town and some more specific and personal us of the past glory of this once advanced discussions, the convoy turns back in the otel Romeo 64, medical centre. direction of Kolahun where we visit Victor Romeo 44, “Welcome, you are welcome!” an old Medecins Sans Frontieres. Ady Foxtrot 12 and man in a wheelchair beams. He offers us Nadimpalli , the MSF coordinator is aware Papa India 1 are what remains of his hands. His lifeless of the situation as his organization is cur- leaving for legs hang from a wheelchair. The town rently trying to secure medical supplies for Kolahun“ Hdistrict, confirm copy…roger, chief is consulted and HCS coordinates a the patients. With help of the County you are loud and clear, Zulu Base out.” A meeting between the inhabitants and our Health Team, they carry out examinations delegation of UNMIL Humanitarian delegation. Someone translates. of the creek water for bacteria related to Coordination Section (HCS), UNICEF, The purpose of this encounter is main- the disease, and in collaboration with the UNHCR protection unit, WFP and ly to exchange information, and gather the International Medical Corps health centre UNMIL’s Public Information, is leaving needs of this destitute and marginalized in Bolahun, MSF sends a mobile team to Voinjama on a cloudy morning, on an community. A tentative count of the popu- change bandages of those who cannot assessment mission to Mbalotahun in the lation gives us a number of approximately walk to Bolahun anymore. WFP started Kolahun district. “Mbalotahun” means 200 people, many of them afflicted by lep- food distribution in the past weeks, and “town of curative” in Mbandi dialect. And rosy. The youngest victim is 12 years old. will continue to do so according to the thereby hangs a tale. Asked about educational facilities, the number of population currently being ver- The Episcopal Mission Hospital in local nurse, who contracted the disease ified. Mbalotahun was founded about 30 years over the years, tells us that the children UNMIL HCS is coordinating activities ago, specifically for the treatment of lep- over age 6 walk to Bolahun for schooling of the different agencies and NGOs to ers. Because this was a unique institution but the younger ones can’t reach there. assist the needy patients of this unique vil- in the region, patients were brought here The sole water pump in the village broke lage. “The response from UN agencies, from all over West Africa to receive treat- many years ago, so the creek is their only NGOs and the County Health Team was ment. source of water. For food, some lay traps impressive, and all partners approached On the road, the thick red mud has in the bush, and the healthier ones grow have taken action to address this issue,” changed into fine dust over the past crops to share with the less fortunate ones. says Monica Andersson, HCS officer for months, creating small sand swirls in the The belief in town holds that prosperous Lofa County. rear view mirror of the car. Children, bags, people get cursed with leprosy by others, Equipped with a flaskful of coffee and blankets, bins and chickens are coming out jealous of their success. a bunch of bananas for the road, we drive of a convoy of UNHCR vehicles that has Delegates from WFP, UNHCR, back to base. Three hours later, as the sun just arrived in Kolahun. Several refugees UNICEF and HCS have a long list of begins to set, we shake the dust off our from neighbouring Guinea have returned issues to query about – women’s issues, eyebrows and crave for a hot and are warmly welcomed by their rela- protection, isolation, stigmatization and a shower…with pressure! tives. Past Kolahun, we turn left to host of others. After a short tour of the Bolahun, once a big city in Lofa. One can still see the sad remains of the Bolahun Episcopal boarding school that once bred UN workers meet neglected leprosy scholars, doctors and political leaders, and victims an adjacent basketball field, the sleeping quarters, and the imposing church between the thick, blossoming trees. From Bolahun, we turn right into a narrow rocky path where the vegetation has obviously won the battle with the road. Almost an hour and many bumps later, we reach the small village of Mbalotahun that looks no different from other villages in the neighborhood, except for the people, many with missing limbs and other distort- ed body parts. The hospital looks over the Eliane Van De Velde Eliane Van village from the hill. Inside, rusty wheel-

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 35 Namibians Contribute to Peace By J. Wesley Washington

amibia, one of the countries that gained independence in Africa relatively recent- ly, was born in the context of a United Nations peace- keepingN operation. In April 1989, the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) was deployed through- out to monitor South Africa’s withdrawal and provide electoral assis- tance. Elections were held in November 1989 and this south African country became independent on 21 March, 1990. Three years on, in 1993, Namibia began helping keep peace in other lands when it heeded the call of the United Nations and dispatched a small contingent of 43 soldiers and equipment to work as part of the United Nations Transitional Namibian soldiers help maintain security in Liberia Authority in (UNTAC). Between then and 2006, Namibia has UNMIL contingents, the first contingent Under the command of Lt. Col. participated in peacekeeping missions in of Namibian peacekeepers successfully Tsenaye Wellem Akaye, 860 Namibian Africa and other trouble spots around the oversaw the Disarmament and troops proudly wear the blue helmets, world including Angola, Ethiopia/Eritrea Demobilization exercise in their area of among them 104 female soldiers. and the Democratic Republic of the operation. Deployed in Sector 2, the Namibians share Congo. Apart from contributing to those The second contingent, NAMBATT-2, responsibilities with the Pakistani contin- missions, Namibia has also dispatched played a significant role in facilitating the gent in Bomi, Gbarpolu and Lofa counties. Military Observers to countries such as voters’ registration and other aspects of the With the successful completion of Eritrea, Kosovo, Egypt and Sudan, among Liberian electoral process. Disarmament and Demobilization, NAM- others. Currently deployed in Grand Cape BATT-3 turned their focus to the electoral In 2004, Namibia responded to calls Mount County, the third Namibian contin- process. They provided security escort as by the UN for troops to bring an end to the gent (NAMBATT-3) is divided into an well as transport and accommodation for mayhem and carnage in Liberia. Deployed Infantry Motorized Company and both UNMIL and national electoral per- with the United Nations Mission in Liberia Headquarters Company at Sinji; and one sonnel involved in the 11 October elec- on 22 February 2004, the first Namibian Infantry Company each at Bo Waterside, tions and the presidential run-off on 8 contingent included 844 soldiers, six civil- Robertsport and Gbah where they provide November. ian police, four staff officers and three mil- both scheduled and unscheduled patrols. “I hope that soon the Liberian people itary observers. In addition to these patrols, they pro- will achieve their goal. Up to now, in my Drawn from the 26th and 12th vide escort to UN personnel and convoys area of operation, there is no violation of Brigades, 4th Artillery Brigade and when required mainly along the highways any aspect of the peace process,” said Engineering Regiment of the Namibian and in the towns and villages day and Akaye in a recent interview with UNMIL Army, the battalion’s responsibility was to night. They are charged with the task of FOCUS. secure and safeguard Liberia’s western monitoring traffic movement along the He hoped that reconciliation be the corridor in Sector 2. Ibrahim Babangida highway from Klay to hallmark of Liberia’s new government. “If Though initially faced resistance from Bo Waterside that leads to Sierra Leone. it is given priority, peace and unity will be the rebel group Liberians United for The unscheduled patrols are conducted achieved and with that, developing the Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) in areas where there is no permanent country will be assured.” on arrival at Tienne, 6 km east of Bo UNMIL presence which could either be Waterside, they weathered the storm and ground or aerial patrol, especially along safely deployed. Like the rest of the the Liberia-Sierra Leone border.

36 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 TTwwoo HHoouurrss ttoo FFrreeeettoowwnn Capt. Adam Folcker/SWECON

By Capt. Adam Folcker capital over land. The different parties of the Aberdeen peninsula. The soldiers converged at Langata Camp near Mammy were sweating in the heat even though the he rotor blades whipped up Yoko Hotel, headquarters of the United white sand on Lumley Beach almost felt grass and sand against the Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone like walking in deep snow. The group visors as the soldiers boarded. (UNIOSIL) on the tip of the Aberdeen made its way to a place where they got an The helicopters surged up and peninsula in Freetown. overview of the environment. “In case of set course towards the north, One of the officers in charge was Capt. an evacuation of the Special Court, one of Ten route to Sierra Leone’s capital Andre Saeden, 2IC the Swedish our tasks would be to erect blocking posi- Freetown. Mechanized Infantry Company: “A total tions in several locations,” Lt. Erik Since 1 January, the Irish-Swedish of 160 soldiers participated. A pretty big Hopkins said as he pointed out the dis- Battalion that forms UNMIL’s Quick operation, with air and land components tance to different places across the wetland Reaction Force (QRF) has a new task: and co-operation between Irish and Aberdeen Creek. Upon seeing the familiar evacuation of the Special Court for Sierra Swedish as well as with the troops at the site of UN Soldiers in Sierra Leone once Leone in Freetown, if the need arises. That Special Court,” said Saeden. again, local fishermen greeted the soldiers is why in late January, Irish and Swedish The Swedish Captain was referring to with friendly smiles. “Glad to have you troops took off from Monrovia by several UNMIL’s Mongolian Guard Force (MGF), back,” one of them said. MI-8 helicopters from their Camp Clara the 250-man strong company in charge of The Irish and Swedish troops also base in the capital over jungles and mean- security at the Special Court compound in made several rounds through central dering rivers, crossing the border into the central Freetown. The Mongolian soldiers Freetown to get to know the geography of more hilly terrain of Sierra Leone. After a were deployed following the decision by the area. “The purpose was to gain knowl- two-hour flight, the battle-ready UNMIL UN Security Council in September 2005 edge about the terrain, especially the roads soldiers landed at several points in and to entrust UNMIL with the security of the leading in to and out of the Special Court,” around Freetown. Their mission this time Special Court as the peacekeeping mission Saeden said. was not to evacuate the Special Court, but in Sierra Leone was winding up. “They are After spending five days in Freetown, only to get to know the area as well as to very professional and are constantly work- the QRF contingent returned to Liberia test the ability of the UNMIL QRF to carry ing to increase the security around the using a combination of transport involving out this new task. Special Court,” Saeden said. air, sea and land components. “A success- Large MI-28 helicopters were simulta- One day in Freetown, a group of ful operation and a good test of our ability neously bringing in light armoured vehi- Swedish soldiers were on a foot patrol to to get there and do the job,” summed up cles, and a convoy of vehicles was at the recce along Cockerill Bay on the west side the Swedish Captain. same time approaching the Sierra Leonean

Members of UNMIL’s Quick Reaction Force arrive in Freetown Capt. Adam Folcker/SWECON

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 37 New Deputy Special Representative

ordan Ryan of the United States Prior to that, Ryan served as the Director was appointed by United Nations of the Office of the Administrator, Secretary-General Kofi Annan as UNDP, in New York from 1997 to 2001. Jhis Deputy Special Representative Earlier in his career, Ryan held the for Recovery and Governance for positions of UNDP Deputy Resident Liberia, effective 1 January 2006. Representative and Senior Assistant Ryan, who also serves as the United Resident Representative in Viet Nam. He Nations Resident Coordinator and was also the UNDP Assistant Resident Humanitarian Coordinator in Liberia, has Representative in China. Before joining had a long and distinguished career with the United Nations, Ryan worked as an the United Nations and brings a wealth of attorney in New York and California, and experience and demonstrated leadership as an international legal consultant in abilities to his new assignment. Until his Asia and in the Middle East. new appointment, he was the United Ryan holds an M.A. in international Nations Resident Coordinator and affairs from Columbia University, a United Nations Development Jurist Doctorate from the National Law Programme (UNDP) Resident Centre at George Washington University, Representative in Viet Nam, where he and a B.A. in anthropology from Yale negotiated with the Vietnamese govern- University. He was a visiting fellow at ment and achieved the introduction of the Kennedy School of Government, explicit “rights based approach to devel- Harvard University in 2001. opment” in the UN country programme.

New Force Commander Takes Over

igerian Lt. Gen. Chikadibia ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECO- Isaac Obiakor has been MOG) Artillery Brigade for a year. He appointed UNMIL’s new also served as ECOMOG Chief NForce Commander effective 1 Coordinator of the Liberian elections in January 2006. He becomes the third July 1997 and a member of the United Force Commander since the mission’s Nations/African Union monitoring group inception in 2003. and the independent election monitoring Lt. Gen. Obiakor replaces Lt.-Gen. committee. Joseph Owonibi who served the mission Born on 18 February, 1951 in from its inception in 2003, first as its Anambra State, Lt. Gen. Obiakor attend- Deputy Force Commander and Chief ed a number of prestigious military Military Observer until his appointment schools including the Nigerian Military as Force Commander from 1 January School and the Nigerian Defence 2005. Academy. He holds a Masters degree in Lt. Gen. Obiakor has had a long and Strategic Studies from the University of distinguished career with the Nigerian Ibadan. He has participated in many mil- Army, beginning 1973, and has served itary courses abroad, including the for- various senior positions including as mer USSR, the USA, Indonesia, General Officer Commanding the Australia and various African countries. Second Mechanized Division of the Lt. Gen. Obiakor is married with Army. The Nigerian General is no children. He enjoys brainstorming, con- stranger to Liberia. A decade ago, from templation, listening to jazz, sports and August 1996 to August 1997, he served photography. in Liberia as the Commander of the

38 UNMIL FOCUS December 2005 - February 2006 LLIIBBEERRIIAANNSS SSPPEEAAKK What will YOU do to rebuild Liberia?

Snorti Munah Forh Moses Flomo (24) Miss Liberia 2005-2006 (30) Student George S. Lansana (37) Student “I’m a teacher by profession so I have “It’s about the impact I can make on started tutoring some students who are ex- Liberian people in contributing to the “We have to make sure that the coun- combatants. We are engaged with ex-com- rebuilding of our country. I’ll like to talk try remains peaceful, secure and stable. batants in such vocations as sewing, tye- about three things. First, before we start to This provides the environment for govern- dying. We are teaching them to become make contributions, we’ll have to value ment to work. If there is a security prob- self-productive.” our self-esteem, prioritize our rights and lem, funds earmarked in the budget for obligations, and we should focus. We have development will be redirected to ensure to first of all believe in ourselves. What I security.” will begin to do now is empower the youth around me.

Peter Cole (32) Liberian musician based in Senegal “My contribution will be anything I can do to educate the Liberian people Grace Thomas through my music to help this infant gov- Harriet Chea (35) Student ernment. I intend to work in the private (37) Student “My contribution will be talking to our sector - establishing a good recording stu- “As an individual, my role is to be a youth to concentrate on education, dio, working with colleagues so we have a law abiding person; when I’m employed, because the minds of the youth should be vibrant musician’s union that can con- get to work on time and spread the peace developed for positive ventures rather than tribute to the development of Liberia message.” for destruction.” through music. You know music is a medi- um that goes far and wide. We’ll have to realize that what we’ve destroyed in 14 years cannot be rebuilt in a short time. It does take time.”

Prince Dunbar (31) Student/Journalist Chris Harris (23) Student “As a journalist, I’ll endeavor to edu- Julius Kanuba (22) Journalist “For me, my contribution will be to cate people on what we can contribute to make this government a vibrant one. I’ll “We as journalists have the task of help beautify the city. I will challenge oth- enlighten them that it is also our responsi- reporting issues that unfold within the ers to join me, for example, to help keep bility to make our contribution to govern- society. So basically, my contribution to our city clean. I would advocate for a clean ment one way or the other. Also one major the government is to first report on devel- and tidy environment. thing I will do is be regular in paying my opmental issues and most importantly, taxes. highlight those issues where government is found wanting.”

December 2005 - February 2006 UNMIL FOCUS 39 UNMIL FOCUS, Vol. 2, No. 02 A publication of the United Nations Mission in Liberia Public Information Office www.unmil.org