Liberia: Diaspora Liberians Forge United Front to Support Struggling Homeland

Amb. George Patten with former Ambasadors William Bull and James Teah Tarpeh at the All Liberian Diaspora Conference, held December 2019

Diaspora Liberians from various regions of the world wrapped up a two-day meeting over last weekend with a comprehensive resolution establishing themselves as a united front to help rebuild their homeland with keen focus on the key issues of economic Development, dual citizenship, immigration protection, women rights, health, education, and justice for war crimes in Liberia.

"Proposition One" of the 2020 Referendum took center stage with a decision to support the controversial constitutional amendment.

The conference resolution, according to a dispatch, was adopted at the Saturday closing session of the All Liberian Diaspora Conference held December 6-7 in Silver Spring, Maryland USA.

The Conference was sponsored by the leading umbrella Liberian Diaspora organizations representing various regions of the world brought together hundreds of Liberians, and Diaspora leaders, along with local officials, and diplomats, including Liberian ambassador the U.S. George S. Patten, former ambassadors, William Bull and James Teah Tarpeh, former U.S. ambassador at large Stephen Rapp, and former U.N. Prosecutor Dr. Alan White.

Leading speakers included former USAID Mission Director to Liberia, Dr. Anthony Chan; Former Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Cllr. Jerome J. Verdier, and former Presidential Advisor, Cllr. Seward M. Cooper, Sr.

ALDC Chairman John F. Lloyd Chats with Dr. Alan White

The Conference Chairman, John F. Lloyd, who addressed the opening event, said that the prime goal of the conference was to unite Liberians in the Diaspora to address the major issues affecting Liberia, noting, "We are here today because we remember where we come from," he asserted.

The deliberations and resolution process were live-streamed around the world, and received broad- based support from the Liberian Diaspora for the focus on a range of important issues affecting Liberia.

"The Conference document will be officially released after formal presentation to the diaspora leadership," according to the dispatch.

Diaspora Unity

After two days of deliberation characterized by huge outpouring of national pride, and devotion to their motherland, Liberians resolved to stand united as a global "All Liberian Diaspora Conference" bringing together the leadership of a large network of Liberian national organizations from around the world, while ensuring the representation of women on the governing council.

Dual citizenship

In the aftermath of heated debates and discussions on the issue of dual citizenship and "Proposition One" of the National 2020 Referendum, Diaspora Liberians resolved to support "Proposition One" as a giant step in their long quest to attain dual citizenship and restore the citizenship of natural born Liberians with other nationalities. However, they were keen to point out that the stipulations restricting dual citizens from holding an extended list of positions in the government is fall short of addressing the essential goal of reversing brain drain.

Economic Development

On the issue of economic development, the Conference observed the deep concern of the Liberian Diaspora over the steadily declining economic conditions in Liberia and called upon the current government to adopt realistic fiscal policies to alleviate the suffering of the Liberian people.

Justice for War and Economic Crimes

In their resolution, the diaspora Liberians reflected upon the toll of instability, and human rights violations in their homeland and took a principled stance supporting the pursuit of justice for war and economic crimes in Liberia with a realistic approach, as a means of rebuilding trust in the political stability of the nation and its struggling economy.

ALDC Chairman, John F. Lloyd (at podium): "We are here today because we remember where we come from."

Immigration Protection

The resolution further observed the uncertain status of Liberians in the U.S. currently on the temporary immigration status of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) who may be subject to deportation if timely action is not taken to address their expiring status. The Conference then resolved to mobilize the resources of all Liberians in the U.S. to lobby for the extension of DED while legislation is pursued for adjustment to permanent residency.

Through a majority vote, the resolution was adopted by delegates, and will be officially released after formal presentation to the Diaspora leadership.

Leading organizations sponsoring the conference, include the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas; The European Federation of Liberian Associations; the Federation of Liberian Communities in Australia; Conference of Liberian Organizations in the South Western United States; the United Liberian Association Ghana, and the Coalition of Concerned Liberians.

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