SRSG message to all Liberians at the start of the holiday season
Monrovia, 23 December 2014
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Farid Zarif made the following statement today:
My dear Liberian friends,
The holiday season is a time for reflection and celebration. It is a time when families gather and share in the spirit of joy and peace.
It is a time for giving and a time for forgiveness; a time for tolerance and harmony among neighbours, and in the larger community.
It is a time when we have an opportunity to accept each other in good will, and with all of our wonderful diversity.
The end of the year is also a time to take stock of our achievements and setbacks.
It is a time to prepare to embrace the opportunities and to meet the challenges in the New Year.
Liberians can indeed be proud of the progress they have made in 2015. It was not an easy year, as the impact of the Ebola crisis continued to be felt.
Liberians persevered in beating back Ebola. And when the virus reappeared late in the year, the Government and its partners quickly put in place the necessary systems and worked closely with the affected communities to contain it.
My tenure as SRSG began in early September. Since then, I have seen Liberia show ever greater commitment to the security transition, including the deployment of more security personnel to the border counties.
Public discourse is slowly but surely and maturely evolving away from nervous calls to suspend the UNMIL drawdown, and towards demonstrations of greater confidence and implementation of the necessary reforms that must occur between now and 30 June 2016.
As I travel around the country, I see communities increasingly recognizing the role every Liberian citizen has to play in ensuring stability, security and peace. I see a growing commitment among Liberians and their leaders to address the root causes of potential conflicts. And I see progress on the de-concentration of services to the counties.
I am confident that we will soon see passage of key legislation required to ensure a fair and just society, such as the land Rights Act, the Land Authority Act, and the Gender Equality Act.
In recent months, we have seen the awakening of greater political will to address the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. I am sure this momentum will continue through the New Year. It must. And the Mission will do even more to tackle SEA. One case is one case too many and I will not tolerate SEA on my watch.
At the start of the New Year, all Liberians should take great pride that the country will assume responsibility for all aspects of its own security in 2016.
UNMIL will not cut and run from Liberia the next day. Even when the mission eventually withdraws, the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes will continue to support your quest for irreversible peace, security and progress.
On behalf of all of us in UNMIL, I wish joy and prosperity to all, and to all of you in Liberia who celebrate Christmas. May this happy occasion promote mutual respect among people of all faiths.
In the spirit of Christmas, may the New Year be marked by peace and goodwill to all Liberians.
Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays.