The NEWS (Monrovia)

7 July 2014

Liberia: Violence At Arcelor Mittal Dangerous

The Press Union of Liberia (PUL) says the violent disruption of activities at Arcelor Mittal is unacceptable and reflects a dangerous trend in Liberia's march to peace.

PUL believes whatever claims community members have must be discussed in an atmosphere free of fear and mistrust, as to reach logically sound and mutually beneficial decisions.

"This sort of violence destroys valuable investment, creates insecurity and leads to economic and even political instability," PUL President Abdullai Kamara said in a statement.

The Liberian journalist union warned that if violence becomes the norm, Arcelor Mittal or any other corporation will exercise caution in any future development in Liberia, and this will definitely not serve the better interest of the people.

"Liberia has come from a bitter past of violent conflict, and we cannot afford to preface the upcoming transition with violence that could be further exploited by unscrupulous persons; at this point in our history, citizens need to subtract violence from their advocacy, and rather hold their leaders responsible for not taking relevant actions to ensure that concessions abide by agreements with local communities," Kamara added.

The PUL insists that the government, acting through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Bureau of Concessions, must continuously monitor/track agreements between concessions and local communities, to ensure that they are implemented in due course, to avoid simmering tensions that could lead to violence.

Meanwhile, the Press Union has committed to participating in any efforts aimed at providing public education about concession agreements so as to prevent misunderstanding and conflicts between concessionaires and communities.

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