U.S. Gov"t, Catholic Bishops, Several Others Denounce Liberian Warring Groups


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted December 2, 2003

The walk-out by representatives of the three warring factions from the maiden meeting of the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration(NCDDRR) last Thursday, has provoked a barrage of condemnations from several quarters.

In a press release issued over the weekend, United States Ambassador John Blaney said the US strongly condemns the behavior of the representatives of LURD, MODEL and the former GOL for walking out of the initial meeting of NCDDRR on Thursday, November 27, 2003.

The US Embassy release reiterated its full support to the United Nations Mission in Liberia in its efforts to implement the comprehensive Peace Accord and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1509.
Ambassador John W. Blaney called on the parties to immediately resume their active and cooperative participation in the NCDDRR.

"The Comprehensive Peace Accord and the United Nations Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Action Plan represents the only hope for the future of Liberia.

"The United States urges all parties to seize this opportunity to restore lasting peace to Liberia and to build a brighter future for all Liberians", the US embassy release concluded.

Similarly, in reaction and total rejection of the walk-out action by the three warring groups, the Catholic Bishops of Liberia expressed shock and dismay by the report that the representatives of the former GOL, LURD and MODEL at the start of the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration meeting on Thursday November 27, 2003 walked out after failing to adopt the DDRR Program that would provide their combatants with monetary incentives, food, medical treatment, vocational training educational opportunities and a chance for a better life., because their demands for dozens of positions for themselves within ministries and public corporations has not been met and therefore this is a precondition for their participation in the DDRR Program.

"The Catholic Bishops of Liberia want the warring factions to realize that the Liberian people have suffered so much from their callous behaviors in dehumanizing them, violating their fundamental rights, killing, injuring, raping and sodomizing our people, looting and destroying our country for selfish motives cannot continue to suffer from their hands and call on them to immediately return to the meeting otherwise God/s wrath will be on them.

"The Bishops ask the question: Are they better than the 99% Liberians suffering at their hands-they have treated inhumanely?

"The Catholic Bishops of Liberia call on the UNMIL to carry out the DDRR program for the vast majority of the fighters want to disarm and take advantage of the DDRR package awaiting them.

"We want to congratulate the nine hundred combatants of the former government militias who have voluntarily disarmed to UNMIL. We call on all combatants to disarm voluntarily to UNMIL. We call on UNMIL not to change the date of the beginning of disarmament on December 7, 2003.

"We appeal to all Liberians to stand up peacefully and protest the stand of the warring factions. All of us have a co-responsibility for the safety and security of our beloved country so ravaged by our compatriots who seem not to understand that violence is not the solution to our problems.

"We hold the warring factions responsible for any and all that may go wrong in the implementation of the DDRR program.

Meanwhile, the three warring parties to the Liberian conflict have been urged to immediately return to the negotiating table without any precondition to implement the DDRR program.

A local advocacy group, the Prisoner Assistance Program (PAP) says if the parties return to the negotiation table, it will demonstrate their sincerity to the peace process and be at the advantage of the combatants.

PAP’s Executive Director R. Jarwlee Geegbe made these assertions on behalf of his organization Sunday, when his group received the 2003 Role Model Award from the Break Through Outreach Church in Point Four.

Mr. Geegbe said his group is also worried over the recent waive of mob justice against alleged perpetrators of crimes.
The group is therefore calling on the relevant security measures to stop the carnage.

For its part the church said its has awarded PAP the honor because of the professional and dedicated manner the prison group has handled its community rally against human rights violation projects in various communities through drama.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.