History Will Remember Taylor As A Greedy Assassin
(A Position Statement)

The Perspective
April 12, 2001

Editor's Note: The recent attack on the students of the University of Liberia, death threats to Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh of the Liberia People's Party and to James Verdier of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, and the mysterious disappearance of J. Milton Teahjay, have provoked statements and press releases from opposition and human rights figures. Below is full text of a position statement issued by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, leader of the Unity Party:

The Standard Bearer of the Unity Party wishes to join the many other individuals, institutions and political parties in expressing serious concerns about the increasing number and the intensification of human rights abuses in the country.

The recent unleashing of security forces who beat, raped terrorized and jailed students at the University of Liberia who were exercising their constitutional right to meet and demonstrate peacefully is an offense to all Liberians and to mothers and fathers throughout the world.

The threats to the safety and life of opposition politician Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh of the Liberian People's Party and to James Verdier of the Peace and Justice Commission are other examples of the desperation of the Taylor Government in its quest to silence any truthful and independent voice no matter how objective and constructive.

The disappearance of UPP opposition leader Milton Teahjay after his abduction by security officers on the exercise of his constitutional right of free movement within and to travel outside the country is reminiscent of the fate of UP opposition leader Samuel Dokie and his wife and family who were brutally murdered and their bodies burned after being taken into custody by the security forces. To date, the government has refused to allow an independent investigation into this barbaric incident. The refusal to investigate also applies in the case of the death of Vice President Dogolea whose autopsy the Government has refused to release as a means of proving its innocence in what is widely believed to be a brutal beating by the Security Forces which led to his death.

Mr. Taylor recently called for talk with the opposition, my name featuring prominently in this call. In doing so he points out that he is unable to guarantee the safety of anyone as only the constitution does so. One fails to understand this doublespeak and hypocrisy since, based on his oath of office, he swore to defend and protect the constitution.

In similar manner, Mr. Taylor called upon me to use my influence with General Charles Julu to release 400 abducted Liberian children. While condemning any such abduction, I pointed out that I did not know nor had ever talked to General Julu.

The question now being asked is how Mr. Taylor got to know of this abduction including the precise number of children? Where did the abduction take place? Indeed if he is in the position to have such detailed knowledge, he should be in the position to do something about the release of the children.

Mr. Taylor, Liberians call upon you to stop these lies, these accusations, and these horrible acts of violations of the rights and dignity of the Liberian people. The current reign of terror must come to an end. The Government must discharge its responsibility to protect its citizens, to free them from fear, to give them the opportunity to work for the improvement of their welfare, to be assured of their rights guaranteed under the constitution.

As for the call for return home, Mr. Taylor is well aware of the conditions upon which those in exile are prepared to heed his call. These include the withdrawal of all bogus charges; ­ the freeing of all political hostages; a guarantee of the safety and protection of returnees; protection of freedom of speech, association, religion; the respect for peaceful and legal movements and actions of all Liberians including members and leaders of the opposition.

Until Mr. Taylor and his Government change course, until he renounces violence and brutality against innocent citizens, until he ceases to bring shame and dishonor to our country, until he ceases to exploit the resources of the country for the enrichment of a few; unless he truly repents, the peace and reconciliation which are required for development will always elude him. Thus, his presidency has and will continue to fail and history will remember him as the greedy assassin whose adventurism brought his country and others in the sub-region to ruin.

Issued April 11, 2001, in the City of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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