10 January 2013

Liberia: UNMIL Upbeat About Liberia's Prospects

The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is optimistic of the continued consolidation of peace and security in the country. Aeneas Chuma, the new Deputy Representative of the Secretary General told journalists here Wednesday he was optimistic of Liberia's recovery and governance programme. Chuma said since he arrived in Liberia about four weeks ago, he was about to met some stakeholders and was impressed with the country's progress after years of war.

"A considerable progress of peace and security has been made since the Mission arrival almost 10-years and this is not without the involvement of Liberian themselves," Chuma noted.

He was quick to point out challenges which include refugees returning, peace consolidation, and economic growth to provide employment, particularly for the youths and poverty remain key issues. He noted that the recent government launched agenda, Vision 2030 is intended for economic growth and the need to providing well paying jobs in the future cannot be overemphasized

"Since war ended, what needs to be done is democratic institution building, which the Mission is involved by helping the government to so," he noted. About draw-down, Chuma said the transition is being managed in a more professional manner, but it was time for Liberia to take charge of its own security."

Pakistani National Faces Sentence Friday

A Pakistani national found guilty of human trafficking by the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County is expected to be sentenced this Friday, 11 January.

Grand Bassa County Resident Circuit Court Judge, Benedict W. Holt, Sr., is expected to hand down final judgment and sentencing. Mohammed Ilyas(E-le-as) was brought down guilty by Trail Jurors at the 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Grand Bassa last Saturday.

According to report, Ilyas (E-le-as) is proprietor of a small sawmilling business located in Big Joe Town, Lower Buchanan. The indictment said, in 2012 the defendant deceived, recruited and brought to Liberia five of his countrymen to work for him.

He claimed to have had a big and lucrative business establishment and promised to pay them attractive salaries, including decent housing facilities, good food and return air tickets. But having worked for several months, the defendant failed to fulfill any of these promises to his kinsmen, thereby subjecting them to extreme hardship, a situation which resulted to the death of one of the Pakistani nationals in September 2012.

In the aftermath, Mohammed was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), investigated and charged with human trafficking and subsequently arraigned in Court. Grand Bassa County Attorney D. Onesimus Banwon, represented the State, while Counselor Paul Philip Jarvan, a Public Defender for Grand Bassa in league with Attorney Morris Kaba, represented the defendant.

SRSG Honors Indian Formed Police

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Ms. Karin Landgren has commended 125 Indian Police Officers, including 103 women and 22 men, for their contribution to peace in Liberia at an award ceremony held in Monrovia Wednesday.

The UN envoy thanked Indian peacekeepers for being at the forefront of UN peacekeeping operations with 7,846 Indian peacekeepers currently deployed around the world. India is the third largest troop contributing country to UN peacekeeping operations.

As the first country to send an all Female Formed Police Unit to a peacekeeping mission, India has blazed the trail in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 which recognizes that armed conflicts often affect women and girls most severely and so mandates that women should play a more prominent role in peacekeeping efforts.

Speaking to the Indian Police officers as they were awarded service medals, SRSG Landgren said, "We are immensely proud of each and every one of you for the difference you have made, and of the inspiration you have given Liberian girls and women."

"You will leave behind the lasting and powerful image of strength and nurture, and of behavior that confirm the essential qualities of trust and respect in our daily interactions with our Liberian brothers and sisters", he added.

Since they were deployed here, the Indian peacekeepers have also provided important outreach programmes to local communities, such as basic self-defense training and computer classes to Liberian women to help improve their lives. The Police Officers will be returning to India shortly after serving for one year with UNMIL and will be replaced by a new all female Formed Police Unit arriving from India.

Dignitaries present at the ceremony included the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr Aeneas C. Chuma, UNMIL Police Commissioner John Nielson, Force Commander Major Gen. Leonard Ngondi and other UNMIL Senior military and civilian staff.

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