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Brief History of Liberian Civil Conflict

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1 Brief History of Liberian Civil Conflict
Repatriation of Freed Slaves from United States to Liberia by the American Colonization Society. July 26, 1847 – Independence gained, constitution fashioned after US. Elite “Congo” settler minority establish political hegemony over “Country” aborigines April 14, 1979 – Rice riots fueled by socio-economic and political discontentment of masses over settlers’ oligarchy April 12, 1980 – Bloody military coup d’etat led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe breaks settlers’ political hegemony. President William Tolbert butchered, 17 cabinet members summarily executed by PRC Junta. New elite class emerges among “country” aborigines. Opposition grows within PRC membership; political intrigues, foiled coup d’etats and executions abound 1985 – Samuel Doe wins elections amid allegations of vote rigging 1986 – Former AFL commanding general Thomas Quiwonkpa invasion foiled; ethnic cleansing of Gios and Manos (Quiwonkpa’s tribesmen) begins December 24, 1989 – Charles Taylor’s NPFL rebels invade Liberia via La Cote d’Ivoire. Mass exodus of Liberians into Diaspora; human rights abuses, mass killing along tribal lines; 1990 President Doe butchered by NPFL splinter. ECOWAS sends in regional peacekeepers. Interim government installed; rebel groups sprout 1996 – UNOMIL disarms factions (NPFL, ULIMO, LDF, LPC, INPFL, NPFL-CRC, etc.) Charles Taylor elected; September 18, 1998 – Krahns massacred in Camp Johnson shootout by Government forces; ULIMO-J faction leader Roosevelt Johnson, others go into exile and regroup. 1999 – LURD forces invade Liberia’s Lofa county via Guinea 2000 – media clampdown, political unrest, travel ban imposed 2002 – UN imposes sanctions on the Taylor regime to curb destabilization of Sierra Leone July 2003 – War escalates, LURD and offshoot faction MODEL, besiege capital city August 18, 2003 – CPA signed paving the way for installation of interim government; dispatch of Stabilization Force to Liberia 1999 NPFL ULIMO LURD 1991 1992 NPFL MODEL 1989 2002

2 DDRR Liberia: The Rocky Road to Peace
Profile of the Warring Parties (July 2003) 1. The former LURD rebel faction controlled 85 percent of Liberia by 2003 – former leader: Sekou Damate Conneh; Membership predominantly Mandingoes, Krahns, and Southeasters. 2. The former MODEL rebel group comprised mainly Southeasterners; believed to be offshoot of LURD faction created to increase pressure on the pariah Taylor regime. Former leader: Thomas Nimely Yaya; 3. The Former GOL, forces loyal to President Taylor. Included militias, paramilitary, AFL, etc. Former leader - Defense Minister Daniel Chea CHALLENGE: HOW TO GET THE BELLIGERENTS TO DIALOGUE AND END THE BLOODBATH? Courtesy: BBC Focus on Africa magazine

3 DDRR Liberia: The Rocky Road to Peace II (Accra 2003)
The Stakeholders The Facilitators The warring parties: LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy); MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia) and the former GOL (government of Liberia) forces Civil Society (Teachers, lawyers, marketers, “yanna boys”, doctors, religious leaders, lawyers Political Parties WIPNET (Network of Liberian Women) Refugees Media Others Following months of bickering, the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement was finally signed August 18, 2003 in Ghana. Gyude Bryant selected Chairman of power-sharing government. ECOWAS sends in vanguard peacekeepers to maintain ceasefire. Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) formed. ECOWAS – Sub-regional solidarity; willpower to curb cross-border instability; arms trafficking ICGL – Chief Mediatory role United States Government – financier Photos: Molley Paasewe

4 DDRR Liberia: The Rocky Road Home
Prelude to DRR Accra Peace Agreement: legitimized peace process; established transitional government, NCDDRR and other National Commissions; clearly identified non-state actors and defined role of Stabilization Force in the DDR process Configuration and role of National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration in implementation of CPA UN Resolution 1509 and UN Resolution 1497 clearly indicate role of UN PKF (UNMIL) in the peace process, commencing first with the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration of combatants of the three warring factions (LURD, MODEL, former GOL and other militias) The Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) – comprising 9 factional reps, three from each of the warring factions, and UN military observers to monitor and observe the ceasefire Formation of the NCDDRR (Policy Body). Membership comprises European Union, United States government, International Contact Group on Liberia (Ghana, Nigeria, Special Representative of ECOWAS and Special Representative of the AU), the UN, representatives of the warring factions, NTGL and relevant agencies of government

5 DDRR Strategic Implementation Framework
Drafting of DDRR Framework in October 2003 Role of United Nations Mission in Liberia Structure and Role of NCDDRR NCDDRR Secretariat

6 Implementation Roadmap
The political process drives DDRR: Policy Body 1st seating November 27, 2003 December 1, 2003 – symbolic destruction of arms December 5, 2003 – warring factions renew commitment to the DDRR process December 7, 2003 – DDRR formally launched December 7,8 and 9 – process ran into trouble December 15 – DDRR process suspended, to resume January 20, 2004 January 15 – meeting held to reassess the date for resuming the process. Delay in resumption of the process raised the question of security and how to contain the combatants while they were awaiting to be disarmed: IFP (Interim Feeding Program) launched by NTGL January 20 – the process of the DDRR resumes with timeline for information and sensitization campaign and identification of cantonment sites; 48 influential commanders (16 each from the three warring factions) were brought on board to be part of the NCDDRR as DD Facilitators. Implementing partner and service providers were requested to hire the combatants in the construction of the cantonment sites Photos: Molley Paasewe

7 Preconditions for Disarmament
WHO QUALIFIES FOR DISARMAMENT? Former GOL LURD MODEL Other militias Child soldiers (Interim care centers – UNICEF) Women Associated With Fighting Forces (WAFFs) Children Associated With Fighting Forces (CAFFs) Wounded and disabled combatants Unarmed combatants HOW DOES ONE QUALIFY TO BE DISARMED (CRITERIA)? 150 rounds of ammunition and all conventional weapons as determined by UNMIL Surrender of units with shared weapons Physical qualification of combatants to be determined by MILOBs (Military observers) BENEFITS Receive food, clothing and basic hygiene kits during cantonment US$300 Transitional Safety-net Allowance to sustain the ex-combatant while awaiting to enter RR Upon demobilization, ex-combatant can enter any training program he/she chooses. Adequate presence of UN force on the ground Mobilization of implementing partners and service providers (WHO, UNICEF, World Vision, WFP, UNIFEM, UNDP, UNFPA, MERLIN, MSF, CRS, LWS/WF, IOM, FIND, READCORP, CRID, UMCOR, Talking Drum Studio, etc) Construction of cantonment sites Submission of a comprehensive list of combatants for the three warring factions, indicating type and location of weapons Simultaneous disarmament of combatants Massive information and sensitization campaign targeting combatants and communities Photo: Molley Paasewe

8 Collaboration and the Issue of National Ownership
Consultations with implementing partners, service providers, religious groups, political parties and civil society to buy into the process and give it legitimacy Regular meeting of the Policy Body (to determine progress and adjust schedule of the DDRR as the need arises, i.e. security, compliance with the CPA and ensuring ongoing commitment of the warring factions to the process The Joint Implementation Unit (JIU), comprising NCDDRR, UNMIL and UNDP, has brought together technical expertise from the various UN agencies and donor countries with representatives of the NCDDRR and relevant agencies of government reviewing technical matters arising out of the program and submit recommendation to the NCDDRR policy body for decision Photo: Molley Paasewe NCDDRR Team on a tour of rural Liberia to meet with ex-combatants before disarmament

9 DD Information Sensitization Buildup
Photo: Molley Paasewe Resumption of DD in Gbarnga, Liberia. April 15, 2004

10 DD Information Sensitization Buildup
January UNMIL-NCDDRR Joint Info-Sens campaign in LURD rebel territory

11 DD Information Sensitization Buildup
Photo: Molley Paasewe West African film and musical stars on DDR tour of the Liberian capital in 2004

12 DDRR Goes Full Blast: April 15, 2004
DDRR officially resumed on April 15, 2004 Four cantonment sites opened sequentially -Gbarnga -Buchanan -Tubmanburg -VOA (Careysburg) Photo: Molley Paasewe

13 Status of DDRR in Liberia
DD officially ended October 31, 2004 following NCDDRR Policy Body endorsement on September 11, 2004 Military wings of warring factions officially disbanded and dissolved on November 3, 2004 103,019 combatants successfully disarmed and demobilized Residual caseloads around the country still being processed Unarmed combatants list from three warring factions submitted and is being processed for the RR About 60,000 ex-combatants are currently in training under (a) Formal Education (b) Vocational skills training and (c) Apprenticeship schemes Parallel programs primarily focused on Community-based Reintegration provided quick-impact employment for ex-combatants and host communities through rehabilitation of public institutions, roads and bridges. Parallel programs are currently concentrating on providing training for XCs and host community members The process of the RR is ongoing with about 37,000 former combatants waiting to enter training programs of their choice RR funding gap currently stands at US$4.9m Photo: Molley Paasewe Ex-combatants during skills training orientation in Liberia Sierra Leone Ambassador Foyah, Dr. Jarbo and Amb. Klein at launching of a skills training program in Monrovia, 2004

14 Challenges, Lessons Learned
Proper programme planning Clear eligibility criteria Flexibility in the implementation phases Establishment of consensus on number of combatants to be disarmed Empowerment of national institutions Maintaining sustainability and credibility of the process Sensitization not an event, but a process Smooth transition from DD to RR, to minimize national security risks Provide incentive for agencies that are willing to train former combatants in their communities of origin Support agencies of government that have the statutory responsibility to participate in the RR National Recovery programs must complement the RR program goals and objectives Both political and military leaderships of the factions must be engaged at all times DDRR must be implemented within a regional context Child soldier disarms in Camp Schiefflin in December 2003 Photos: Molley Paasewe

15 The Way Forward ECOWAS must establish a databank for DDR professionals across the sub-region to do networking and support other member states. Focus of such initiative should be geared towards conflict prevention rather than conflict resolution. ECOWAS should institute a comprehensive plan to address current regional security issues ECOWAS must set up a Trust Fund to complement the efforts of the international community as it relates to conflict resolution and implementation of DDR processes ECOWAS, in collaboration with AU should institute a sub-regional framework to deal with the issue of roving non-state actors, taking into account the Sierra Leone-Liberia initiative that established a sustained regime to curb cross border mercenarism Post-conflict countries must prioritize the implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Programs to address the socio-economic needs of their war-affected populations. Such plans should be supported fully by ECOWAS, AU and the rest of the international community Post-DDR Small arms collection programs must be prioritized and localized with the support of the national government and the international community

16 Acknowledgements Thanks to the Ivorian Government, our host, and to OECD for sponsoring our participation in this noble endeavor. Special thanks ECOWAS, the AU, the United Nations and members of the international community for helping to put out our fire in Liberia. You are your brother’s keeper. The Liberian people will hold you dear to their hearts. To the donor communities, we say a BIG THANK YOU! The Liberian people extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation for standing by them in their darkest hour. We sincerely pray that this will be our last DDR in Liberia.

17 From Ex-combatants to New Citizens


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