West Africa: ECOWAS Disappointed That CoP Did Not Deliver Petition

President Weah and cabinet (file photo).

The office of the Special Representative of the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Liberia wishes to inform the public that the planned June 7 peaceful assembly took place at the Capitol Hill, Monrovia on Friday, June 7, 2019.

This, according to ECOWAS, followed series of mediation efforts and constructive engagements between the representatives of government and organizers of the June 7 protest that was facilitated by ECOWAS, African Union and the United Nations, including the recent visits by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in West African and the Sahel (UNOWAS), and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Jean-Claude Kassi BROU to Monrovia.

"The Office wishes to commend President George Weah, for his statesmanship, officials of his government as well as the organizers of the June 7 protest for ensuring a non-violent Peaceful Assembly. In particular ECOWAS would like to commend the Liberia's joint Security Services, and especially, the Liberia National Police (LNP) for the display of utmost professional conduct in protecting the civil liberties of the protesters as there no ugly incident throughout the day.

Equally, the office would like to commend the protesters, who remained orderly and peaceful right from their homes to the assembly point at Capitol Hill. Furthermore, the office wishes to commend the Independent National Commission on Human Rights Monitors as well as the ECOWAS Observers for their diligent and impartial role in interacting with all the parties in their various areas of deployment as well as the assembly point.

In line with the arrangement for the delivery of the petition by the organizers of the protest, the government sent a delegation, comprising of the ministers of State Without Porfolio, Justice, Foreign Affairs, the National Security Adviser and Legal Adviser on Presidential Affairs to the assembly point.

In addition, Representative Edwin Snowe, member of the ECOWAS Parliament, and the Special Representative of the ECOWAS President in Liberia, were at hand to witness the handing-over of the petition.

It goes without saying that the peaceful conduct of the protesters throughout the day exemplified Liberia's democratic maturity, tolerance and orderly nature of people.

However, at the point of representing the petition, the organizers of the protest insisted that the petition, upon delivery to the president, must be acknowledged by him and the acknowledgement should be brought back by the government delegation and handed over to the organizers of the protest at the assembly point. After consultation, the government graciously accepted this demand and waited to receive the petition.

The government delegation was thereafter invited to the mammoth crowd outside the Capitol Hill premises, and surprisingly the organizers of the protest introduced and extraneous demand by informing that their petition would only be delivered upon immediate release of the students and others that were detained by the Liberia National Police few days ago.

It is disappointing to note that, with all the elaborate mediation efforts and arrangements made by the government, Local and International Stakeholders, the petition that was to be delivered to the government, could not take place.

In spite of this, ECOWAS will, however, want the Liberian government and people to to engage in constructive dialogue for sustaining peace and stability with a view to finding and amicable means of addressing genuine concerns in line with the Constitution and the rule of law.

While assuring of its commitment to peace and stability in Liberia, ECOWAS will continue to facilitate the socioeconomic development of the country.


Office of the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia

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