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UN Envoy Says Free and Fair Elections Guarantors of Sustainable Peace

UN Envoy Says Free and Fair Elections Guarantors of Sustainable Peace

Monrovia – The Chair of the United Nations Peace Building Commission (PBC) says reconciliation, rule of law, youth empowerment and a free and fair elections in 2017 are significant to sustaining Liberia’s peace and security.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau and team begun a visit to West Africa on June 9 and will conclude their regional visit on the 17th after visiting Sierra Leone and Guinea. The UN’s PBC delegation describes their mission to Liberia as successful and said their visit focuses on exploring the sub-regional peacebuilding priorities and opportunities on the road to recovery after the Ebola outbreak amongst other critical issues in the three West African countries. The PBC delegation also briefed government and relevant stakeholders on the ground-breaking reviews of the UN operations, peace building and the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security especially ‘primacy politics’, conflict prevention and sustaining peace. “The delegation also presented the resolutions (of the) General Assembly (A/RES/70/262) and the Security Council (S/RES/2282 92016)) on the review of the peacebuilding architecture, which highlight the look beyond post-conflict, peacebuilding to embrace broader concept of sustaining peace,” quoted a Press Statement. Following several meetings and discussions with various Liberian government officials and stakeholders including Vice President Joseph Boakai, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, the Justice and Deputy Foreign Ministers, Ambassador Kamau told reporters during a press stakeout at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia on Saturday, June 11 that the issue of sustaining peace is a fundamental point of all that the UN does in supporting Liberia and the region. Elections, Rule of Law Key to Peace Amb. Kamau mentioned that discussions were held with Liberia’s security sector institutions focusing on the rule of law, which is fundamental in sustaining peace in Liberia, national reconciliation, peaceful elections in 2017 and the involvement of women and youth in sustaining Liberia’s peace.   “These matters of national reconciliation are high on many Liberians minds,” he said. “Liberians still look to the fact that they will like to see a reconcile and a more inclusive society and we have urged all authorities in this country including the civil society organizations to work hard to remain more committed to this issue of building greater reconciliation in Liberia.” Ambassador Kamau, who is also Kenya’s Permanent Representative to UN, intimated that the 2017 elections will be crucial, adding that nothing will guarantee continuous peace in Liberia like the ensuing general and presidential elections. “If Liberia can have successful election, peaceful election, creditable election, I guarantee you this country will be a very different country in 2017, and the promise of prosperity will be real for this country,” he said. “Planning for and executing a free and fair election, this will be another issue that can ensure that this peace continuous to be enjoyed.” He continued: “If we don’t plan for, execute and invest for a free, fair and credible election, then we will not be able to sustain the peace and we’ll definitely not be able to sustain it.” Responding to reporters’ questions, Ambassador Kamau asserted that Liberia is in a better state like it has been for many years while calling on Liberians to celebrate the peace despite the looming challenges. But he emphasized the need to fostering reconciliation and upholding the rule of law will make Liberians more desirous to stay in the country. “If we can build better behaviour, better attention, better regard for the rule of law, this country will be a better place because the rule of law is so fundamental to a peaceful and more enjoyable Liberia.” He frowned of incidents of mob violence in the country, and called on Liberians to believe that the court can deliver justice and the police can exercise its authority in accordance with the law. Speaking on conflict resolution he said: “All political processes must always be resolved within the context of political debate and political negotiations; and this is a fundamental and important message that we have brought to West Africa and we’ve brought here to Liberia.” The delegation also met with Liberia’s Chief Justice and members of the criminal justice system, the Independent National Commission of Human Rights, the Governance Commission, and the Anti-Corruption and the Interim Land Task Force, the National Elections Commission, and civil society organizations. They also met members of the religious community, the United Nations Mission in Liberia, ECOWAS and members of the diplomatic community. Youth and Women Participation also Vital Amb. Kamau also revealed that discussions focusing on the importance of women and youth participation in sustain peace, adding that the PBC delegation encouraged the promotion of the gender dimension of Liberia’s peacebuilding effort. The PBC delegation also emphasized the essence of the country initiating gender-sensitive programs and the strengthening of women and inclusive youth participation in peacebuilding. “Matters that undermine the security and peace in a country are very commonly tied up with issues of young people and youth and yet many people are sucked up into these negative activities that drive the undermining of peace and creating security challenges for the country,” the UN Peace Building Ambassador said. “But we also recognized there is a reason why a lot of youth are cutup in these challenges.” He admitted that opportunities have to be created for the youth including the right vocation for older youths so they can find gainful and committed employment, which he said makes them less liable to negative activities that create insecurity and undermine peace in the society.  He also mentioned that the search for peace must include a better economy which will involve employment for youth ‘so that they are not distracted by violence and political manipulators’. He said the UN’s PBC is convince that Liberia is on the right track to maintain its peace for the long time while referencing how the country’s resilience in combatting the Ebola crisis is an evidence of  stronger and more resolute Liberia than ever. Speaking earlier, Justice Minister Cllr. Fredrick Cherue commanded the United Nations and its Peace Building Commission for the support given Liberia to take over its own security as UNMIL pulls out. He said the Liberian Government is looking up to the international community for continue support. Meanwhile, the Chair of the PBC commanded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for assuming the Chairmanship of the ECOWAS. He said the Liberian leader ascendancy represents an important dimension to the work of peacebuilding in the West African region. “The fact that now her Excellency (President Sirleaf) is the new Chair of ECOWAS presents yet another opportunity for peacebuilding to be able to engage through a trusted party and a trusted partner in the area of peace building not just in Liberian but in West Africa,” he said earlier during the Press stakeout.

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