Statement to the Contact Group on Peace in the West African Sub-region
(Issued by The Movement for Democratic Change In Liberia)
December 23, 2002
We, the members of the Movement for Democratic Change in Liberia (MDCL), have resolved that the government of Liberia is unable and unwilling to protect Liberians and others residing within our borders. The arrest, detention, torture, or brutal flogging of human rights lawyer Counselor Tiawan S. Gongloe, Journalist Hassan Bility, Dr. Amos Sawyer, former interim president of Liberia, Conmany B. Wesseh, Director, Center for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE), etc. not only show Mr. Charles Taylor's habitual violations of basic rights guaranteed the Liberian people such as freedom of expression, the right to live in peace, to congregate, to earn a livable wage, etc., but also his total lack of commitment to uphold the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.
We are not alone in our assessment of the activities of the government of Liberia. The results of Mr. Taylor's appalling human rights records, failed economic policies, and program of destabilization prompted the following description of the Liberian government by the United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mr. William M. Bellamy: "Mr. Taylor's government has broken down the normal structures of Liberian society and ruined the economy, turning Liberia into a failed state". He went on to say that, "This is a regime whose attributes more closely resemble those of a gang rather than a government". Mr. Bellamy spoke at a recently held symposium at The United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.
The evidence that Mr. Taylor is unable and unwilling to provide a suitable environment for free and fair elections in 2003 is overwhelming. In view of the foregoing and for the purpose of ensuring the conduct of free and fair elections next year as the first step toward ending years of instability and human suffering in Liberia and the sub-region, we, on behalf of the suffering people of Liberia, do hereby propose to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Special Contact Group on Liberia to engage and persuade the United Nations to send a stabilization force to Liberia. The purpose of sending a stabilization force is to disarm the government of Mr. Taylor and the insurgent
Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). Moreover, if deployed, we urge that such a force remains in Liberia to help create the conditions for the proper supervision and monitoring of the elections. Furthermore, we request your active participation in efforts toward securing funding to finance the electoral process.
Thank you for this opportunity and may your noble efforts in search for peace in the West Africa Sub-region succeed.
Richard W. Harmon
Public Affairs Director
Nohn R. Kidau,