Liberia: Implementation of Truth Commission Report Essential to Achieving Long-Lasting Peace, Says UN Envoy

Gbarnga, Bong County — Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia says the global body strongly believes that the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission(TRC) RC is one of the essential channels of achieving long lasting peace and fostering full reconciliation.

Speaking at a one-day National Colloquium on the Implementation of the TRC Recommendations held in Gbarnga, Bong County Thursday, the UN Envoy said the colloquium is an excellent opportunity for all to discuss a mutually agreeable mechanism to bring closure to the past. "This colloquium is an opportunity to add the voice of the United Nations to the conversations taking place on accountability, reconciliation and peace consolidation in Liberia. Excellences, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen Liberia so far has enjoyed 15 years of uninterrupted stability crowned by the successful completion in March 2018, of an extended peacekeeping period."

On accountability, the envoy said, all Liberians, have the right and the opportunity to discuss and agree on the restorative mechanism they want to put in place to bring closure to this important question. "This mechanism need not come from outside and need not be set up outside. It can be right here, led and owned by Liberians. As long as it is in conformity with international standards and as long as it is credible in the eyes of the victims and their families and the public at large."

Mr. El Hillo averred that for the gains that have been realized to be sustainable, grievances from the past must be addressed. "The series of conversations that will take place in the colloquium from today will hopefully contribute to this. I therefore urge all participants to be frank, constructive and solution oriented, bearing in mind that the overarching need for peace, stability, progress and economic development of Liberia can only be sustained if Liberians speak out and dialogue on how to heal the wounds of the past.

The envoy stated that there is general agreement that efforts to build sustainable peace in post conflict states are not durable without equally establishing the rule of law. Rule of Law in this instance presupposes remedies and redress for violations, and dedicated efforts to seek closure to the past and forge a peaceful future.

Conversely, he added, there cannot be development in any society without peace and that sustainable peace cannot be fully consolidated without the respect for human rights. "To achieve sustainable peace, there is the need for Liberians to continue to respect the right and dignity of one another, promote access to justice, ensure inclusive and equitable growth, increase basic quality services for all, and establish capable institutions able to resolve conflicts and enforce laws fairly. In any country where the rule of law is not effectively administered, injustice, violence against women and girls, corruption, and general criminality are often endemic."

The UN envoy said the colloquium is imperative as it strives to convene all stakeholders to agree on the way forward with the TRC recommendations.

He said the UN remains committed to continuing its support of the government and the people of Liberia in their quest for lasting stability, peace and reconciliation. However, he added, for any country to attain enviable heights among the comity of nations, there must be sustainable peace. "And sustainable peace means that the probability of using destructive conflict, oppression and violence to solve problems is so low that it does not form part of any party's strategy, while the probability of using cooperation, dialogue and collaborative problem-solving to promote social justice is the norm."

Mr. El Hillo said the United Nations vision for Liberia is "to support Liberia to become a reconciled, transformed and prosperous nation anchored on accountable institutions and equitable, inclusive sustainable development".

This vision, he said, is only achievable if all Liberians rise to the occasion of placing national interests over and above any other interest.

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