UNMIL supports grassroots inclusive reconciliation effort
23 February 2018, Monrovia – UNMIL organized a pre-National Reconciliation Conference meeting in collaboration with the Government of Liberia and implementing partners, Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and Naymote.
The meeting’s main objective was to discuss the outcome of two UNMIL-funded projects implemented by SFCG and Naymote titled Local Voices for Inclusive Reconciliation and Reconciliation Dialogues in Support of Peace Consolidation and Improving Social Services in Margibi and Bong Counties. Key issues identified in most counties include: land disputes, tribal and clan disputes, lack of political participation and illegal land sales among others.
Both projects consisted of county reconciliation efforts aimed at facilitating dialogue among local communities in eight counties: Grand Gedeh, Margibi, Bong, Sinoe, Lofa, River Cess, Nimba and Grand Mount. The culmination of this initiative has been a five-year reconciliation plan for each county which could contribute towards the formulation of a National Reconciliation Policy. This initiative could potentially be replicated in the remaining seven counties.
As a fundamental factor towards national reconciliation, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Yacoub El Hillo recalled the importance of remembering the victims of atrocities committed during the Liberian civil war through the set-up of memorial sites. “This recognizes human loss and serves as a reminder that this should never happen again and hopefully gives a decent closure to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives during the conflict” he said.
“We hear a lot about restorative justice as opposed to retributive justice. These are matters of national debate and I hope discussions will touch on both and how Liberia can do restorative justice. A multi-faceted intervention including policy and legislative reforms and the passage of laws will create the environment for Liberia to confidently forge ahead in a reconciled way” concluded the DSRSG Yacoub El Hillo.
The meeting was attended by Representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Peace Ambassador, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), USAID, the Swedish Embassy, civil society actors, national and international non-governmental organizations.
Discussions also focused on the structure, topics and participants of the upcoming two-day National Reconciliation Conference scheduled from 9 to 10 March 2018.