Statement by the Women's Situation Room - Liberia on the Run-Off Presidential Elections 2017

 

Monrovia, Liberia

December 29, 2017

 

The Women’s Situation Room (WSR) congratulates the people of Liberia for exemplifying our maturity during our elections and having peaceful elections. We are pleased to report that we received no incident of injury or destruction of property in our efforts to elect our next President! Liberians have shown the world that we have grown up politically and can now conduct elections in an atmosphere devoid of threats, intimidations, injury and or death.

We congratulate President-Elect George Weah and his Vice President-Elect Jewel Howard-Taylor on their hard-won victory. The Liberian people have spoken and identified them as their leaders for the next six years.

The WSR also wishes to commend Vice President Joseph Boakai and his running mate Emmanuel Nuquay for their well-run electoral race. But above, all for the Vice President’s very dignified and magnanimous concessionary speech, wherein he has indicated that he is ready to avail himself in any way that the newly elected president may find him useful to advance the good of our country. This concessionary speech has been welcomed by all Liberians as a vital instrument that goes towards pulling this country together and healing it in the fastest possible time. Liberia must be first!!

We, Liberians, have now achieved another notch in our step up to democracy by going through the electoral judicial process as mandated by our Constitution and upholding the Rule of Law. Our Supreme Court must be congratulated also for its concise and well thought out opinion in conformity with our laws and for showing us that the use of our courts makes a marked difference in our lives when the rule of law is upheld.

On November 6th, 2017, the Supreme Court issued a Stay Order mandating a stay on the November 10th, 2017 scheduled runoff until the complaint of Liberty Party could be fully heard. This Stay Order (Writ of Prohibition) was in place until the Supreme Court heard Liberty Party’s appeal and rendered its Opinion on December 7th, 2017 thus lifting the Order. The direct result of Liberty Party utilizing the legal process clearly demonstrates to Liberians the significance of using the legal process to solve our problems rather than using other means. This action of Liberty Party must be commended.

The Supreme Court’s Opinion ordered the National Election Commission, (NEC) to hold a Run-off rather than a Re-run Elections and contained eight (8) major counts that had to be adhered to before elections between the two leading parties could go forward included: stopping all persons who did not appear on the Final Registration Rolls (FRR) from voting; cleaning up of the FRR; publishing the FRR and distributing it to all Magistrate Election Offices and Polling Places; that NEC’s Officials stop making biased public statements; restricting voters to vote only where they are registered and where their names appeared on the FRR; publications of the FRR as pronounced in the Supreme Court’s decision; and limit any addendum to those listed in the NEC’s Polling and Counting Manual.

ECOWAS is thanked and appreciated by the people of Liberia for stepping up to the plate and aiding our National Elections Commission by providing an experienced team of experts to assist NEC in the cleanup of the FRR as per the Supreme Court’s Opinion. NEC must also be applauded for complying with the Supreme Court’s Mandate in such a short period of time to the satisfaction of both political parties’ in time for the re-scheduled December 26th 2017 runoff. We, the Liberian populace, saw the effect of those mandates on election day when our observers reported that there was a marked difference in the efficiency of NEC’s poll workers from the first election day of October 10, 2017.

WSR, sponsored by UNMIL, fielded One hundred and sixty (160) women Observers throughout every Electoral District in Liberia for the Run-Off Presidential Elections. They reported that the major issue of voters locating their correct polling station on election day, had been corrected by the Supreme Court’s Order that NEC display the FRR at polling stations. Thus, ALL voters could transparently look up their names and ascertain where they were registered to vote. The recruitment by NEC of an additional 385 queue controllers to assist voters in finding the correct place to vote, also added to NEC’s efficiency and the cut down on the time it took individual voters to locate their names and vote. This coupled with low voters’ turnout (51%) made the wait time inconsequential. Queues were well manned and there was the rapid processing of voters. By 6pm when our polls closed, there were no lines reported at any voting station.

The 1010 number of the WSR has been fully operational running 24 hours a day from December 23rd 2017 and will run until December 31st, 2017 at the Millennium Hotel in Sinkor, Monrovia, Liberia. We have received 210 calls from December 23rd until today, December 29, 2017. These calls were mainly inquiries regarding voters’ names not on FRR, pictures not on FRR and voters mistakenly putting their voters’ card in the ballot box and were unable to retrieve them; as well as requests for elections results.

The rural women participated at a higher level than before in the WSR. They coordinated hubs in various counties, were observers, were advocates, organized peace marches, preached and held the peace; and took responsibility for peaceful elections in their communities throughout Liberia.

Our “Talking Bus” community engagement project is still operational in the Counties of Nimba, Lofa, Maryland and Grand Gedeh. Prior to the run-off, these communities initiated conversations about upholding the Rule of Law by peacefully accepting our Supreme Court’s decision for us to have the run-off elections. To accept the results. Post run-off, the Talking Bus is engaging the communities in accepting the results, maintaining the peace and the rule of law. The “Talking Bus” is sponsored by UNMIL and USAID’s Liberia Legal Professional Development and Anti-Corruption Activity (LPAC) project from the American Embassy. It is giving us the space for the ordinary Liberian to engage experts like the lawyers provided by the Liberian National Bar Association in its collaboration with the Angie Brooks International Centre and the WSR. The use of interpreters on the “Talking Bus” gives the common people substantial access to both legal and electoral education and thus to justice.

The WSR could not have been so impactful had we not had the youth of Liberia on board to engage in the much-needed peer-to-peer peace advocacy. Liberian youths owned the peace process and saw to it that the peace was not disturbed. From our commercial motorcyclists to our yannah boys, zogos, students and professional youths, they all contributed to this peace. They all understood that this is THEIR Liberia and they are responsible for its stability.

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We thank all our sponsors without whom the Women’s Situation Room could not have been so impactful. UNMIL for its immediate and most generous support. We especially thank UNDP and the Norwegian Fund for our initial foundational sponsorship without which the room could not have been implemented. Urgent Action fund for continuing to support us, and USAID’s LPAC for co-sponsoring the “Talking Bus”. ECOWAS is appreciated for the yannah boys meeting and participation. Kofi Anan Institute for its training to the Eminent Women. We thank all local our sponsors such as NASSCORP and IB Bank.

Concluding, we at the WSR must finally commend our outgoing President and Champion of the WSR, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for having steered the ship of state with all its extraordinary challenges as a post–conflict country, such that Mama Liberia is today positioned to be able to turn over to a duly elected president for the first time in several decades, having preserved the peace for the past twelve years.

THE PEACE IS IN OUR HANDS!!!

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Statement by the Women's Situation Room-Liberia on the Issuance of the Writ of Prohibition

   

 

Monrovia, Liberia

November 21, 2017         

 

The Women’s Situation Room (WSR), in our Preliminary Statement issued October 19, 2017, confirmed lapses and deficiencies in the electoral process of the October 10, 2017 elections as noted by our 322 women observers and our 1010 line in our two Call Centers. To this end, we made certain recommendations to the National Elections Commission (NEC), to minimize said deficiencies before a run-off election was implemented. The recommendations included: the immediate training of NEC’s polling staff due to the high percentage (7.2%) of Invalid Ballots; additional voters’ education and the need to alphabetize the Voters Registration Book in each polling station.

Since our Preliminary Statement, the WSR, cognizant of the mounting tensions and unease in the country with the declaration of the Writ of Prohibition, has: accelerated our advocacy with political parties and other stakeholders including successful mediation between youths of opposition political parties and the security forces; engaged in electorate education via our media engagements; and continued our dialogues with international agencies and Embassies to explain our current constitutional process. We continue to actively implement our mandate of ” peace before, during and after elections “ by the WSR entering into a collaboration with the Liberian National Bar Association to broadcast to the electorate, legal education regarding the Supreme Court’s opinion on the Writ of Prohibition ; as well as to continue to intervene in assuring the smooth operation of the electoral process as we are doing today in Bong County where our observers are attending the recounting of ballots in District #4. Our 1010 short code is still operational in our call center.

 

The Women’s Situation Room once again applauds Liberians for peacefully going to vote on October 10, 2017. We congratulate all candidates and their parties that filed petitions with the National Elections Commission (NEC) as mandated by our Constitution and Electoral Laws instead of taking to the streets with their dissatisfactions about the electoral process. We call on all political parties and politicians to continue to display maturity by keeping their supporters calm and waiting for our constitutional process to unfold as the aggrieved parties make their way through the process starting with the Magistrate in the NEC and then instituting the internal appeal process before the full Board of NEC’s Commissioners and, if still not satisfied, accessing our Supreme Court- the final arbiter of electoral disputes under the Liberian Constitution.

We, Liberians, promulgated our Constitution in 1986. We are now involved in testing not only our constitution, but in upholding our rule of law. The Writ of Prohibition instituted by the Supreme Court stops and prohibits NEC from conducting the run-off election pending the disposition of electoral complaints before the NEC and disposition of any subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court. NEC has complied with the Writ of Prohibition and is now hearing the cases before it. We wait. Peacefully. We encourage NEC Board of Commissioners to expedite the hearing of the cases.

The end of both the current President of Liberia’s term and those of the sitting members of the House of Representatives is in January 2018. Our Supreme Court has prioritized the elections cases and will hear them expeditiously. We ask everyone to let us move forward together to bring about a smooth democratic transition of power from the current government to a duly newly elected government in 2018.

We ask members of the media to present our current national situation in a less heated manner. We should not inflame people’s feelings about this constitutional process. It was not invented by these people holding positions now. They are following a process that has been in existence in our Constitution since its inception in 1986. So long as the parties are following the procedures, let us wait patiently and observe carefully, to see how the process works out in whoever’s favor it works out. This is what we have agreed to do as a society as immortalized in our constitution. It is in all our interest to wait patiently and peacefully.

 

THE PEACE OF LIBERIA IS IN OUR HANDS!!

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First Press Statement by the Women’s Situation Room-Liberia on the Conduct of the October 10, 2017 Presidential & Legislative Elections in Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia

October 19, 2017

 

 

 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the media, on October 10, 2017 Presidential and Representative elections were held in Liberia. The Women’s Situation Room (WSR)- Liberia is pleased to release this preliminary position statement on the conduct of the elections.

The WSR is a women’s peacebuilding mechanism for the mitigation of conflict before, during and after elections in African countries. It mobilizes women in collaboration with youth to lobby and advocate stakeholders to support the call for peaceful elections. It is a non-partisan and neutral process that was initiated by the women of Liberia in 2011 with technical support from the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security.

The WSR-Liberia rolled out a series of activities leading to the setting up of two physical Situation Rooms.  These included the setting up of a mini Call Centre during the Voter Registration; the Talking Bus which captured issues from communities in hotspot counties, the Youth Peer to Peer Peace Process, the Youth Peace Torch, the 15,000 Women Peace March for peaceful elections, training for the Yannah Boys followed by the ECOWAS Youth Peace Summit.

Observation

The WSR-Liberia trained and deployed 322 women observers with 20 supervisors coordinating in all seventy-three districts of Liberia. As part of the ABIC collaboration with the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, 25 of their Kofi Annan Centre observers were deployed. The WSR-Liberia set up two physical Situation Rooms at the TM Mall at Mamba Point in Monrovia and the Suakoko Centre in Bong County which were connected by Skype.

We commend the people of Liberia for turning out to vote and remaining largely orderly throughout the process.  The turnout was massive, and despite the challenges, voters remained mostly calm and peaceful throughout the voting process nationwide. We applaud the large turnout of women who came out to vote.

However, reports from our observers across the country as well as data received from the public via the 1010 short code in our Call Centres pointed to some deficiencies on polling day. As at yesterday Sunday, 15th October, 2017 our two Call Centres received a total of 1086 incident reports. 784 of these incidents were NEC related while 302 were security related. The rest were general queries and observations. The NEC related calls were on issues of identification of voters polling places (voters who could not identify where they were supposed to vote), NEC changing precinct locations thereby confusing voters, large number of invalid votes which is indicative of poor voter education, many of the polling precincts were in schools which were inaccessible to the physically  challenged and the elderly, the late arrival of ballot boxes and voting materials in some places, overcrowding and long queues at polling places; and late pick up of ballot boxes.

There were some cases of violence reported, which included frustrated voters who had been standing in queues for a long time while others seemed to be getting preferential treatment, opposing parties supporters clashing along the way, youth preventing the elderly from voting, intimidation of polling staff during and after the counting process.

We note with concern the incident that happened in District # 4, Nimba County in which voting was compromised and the voting was rescheduled after NEC’s intervention.  We hope for a speedy rescheduling of that election to ensure that voters can exercise their constitutional rights and that legal action will be taken against the perpetrators.

The WSR-Liberia continues to monitor the counting, tallying and pronouncement of preliminary results.  We reiterate that this phase of the elections is just as important as the registration, campaign and voting process, as it has the propensity to derail the process and cause conflict.  

We are pleased that media institutions announcing preliminary results are emphasizing that official results can only be released by the NEC which has the statutory responsibility to do so. 

We call on all standard bearers, political parties and their supporters to remain calm and patiently await the collation, tallying and announcement of the final results by the National Elections Commission.

The WSR-Liberia appreciates the vigilance of the general public who called in to report threats and incidents of violence which the Eminent Women of the physical Situation Rooms in Monrovia and Suakoko were able to intervene in a timely manner in collaboration with NEC and the Police.

RECOMMENDATIONS

1.            Provision should be made for lighting in the polling precincts to ensure increased visibility.

2.            A change in the dates of elections should be considered so that elections are held in the dry season thus eliminating the problems encountered during elections in the rain season, which adversely affect the ability of the National Elections Commission to distribute ballots, electoral materials and staff.

3.            Should a Run-Off election be declared, we are requesting immediate training of NEC’s polling staff due to the high percentage (7.2%) of Invalid Ballots which were, as our observers reported largely due to polling staff inking fingers before ballots were deposited in the boxes, as well as other polling staff inefficiencies.

4.            Additional voters’ education prior to the implementation of any run-off elections should be undertaken; and Civil Society should be recruited to carry out the training.

5.            There is a need to alphabetize the Voters Registration book in each polling station so as to eliminate the long time it takes polling staff to locate voters on the Register.

I thank you and Remember

 “PEACE IS IN OUR HANDS

 

 

 

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In Ghana’s Elections: WSR Plays Key Conflict Mitigation Role

... Liberian youth, others join observer mission as President Sirleaf visits the WSR

 

As Ghanaians went to elections on December 7, the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) Ghana has been taking several steps aimed at mitigating any potential violence before, during and after the electoral process in that country along with other in-country initiatives towards that objective.  The Women’s Situation Room is a women-led peace building mechanism that embraces the youth to mitigate conflict before, during and after electoral process.  The concept was first initiated in Liberia during the 2011 general and presidential elections in Liberia by the Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security.  It has since been adopted as “best practice” by the Gender Is My Agenda Programme (GIMAP) at the African Union and embraced by the women of Africa, with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested to Champion the replication across the continent.  Already, it has been replicated in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda during elections in the respective countries under the slogan “Peace is in our hands”.

Ghana is the latest country on the continent to embrace the idea of the WSR. The  Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC) and initiator of the concept, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh and her team have been rigorously providing technical support and facilitating its successful replication in that West African nation.  Like other replications, the process in Ghana has focused particularly on women spearheading precautionary measures that will mitigate any potential conflict before, during and after the elections.  It has involved the participation of all actors and stakeholders working together for peaceful elections.  Amongst the several engagements which have taken place and will continued during the course of the elections period include, Engagement of Eminent Women, Inter-Party Women Dialogue, Tripartite Inter-Party Dialogue, Inter-Party Youth Dialogue, Media Trainings, etc. The WSR Ghana has also engaged other key actors of political parties, government, various youth groups as well as the marginalized and those neglected by society. 

On November 17, hundreds of women marched for peace in the Northern Regional capital of Tamale as part of activities of the WSR, while the lightening of the Youth Peace Torch commenced on November 30 and was climaxed on December 4 at which time the youth were called upon to uphold the lighted Peace Torch to symbolize their endorsement to the peace campaign and also to pledge to play their roles in ensuring free, fair, and transparent and violence free elections in Ghana.  The WSR Ghana has recruited young women to spearhead information gathering at the various flashpoints across Ghana.  There are 120 WSR Ghana focal persons across Ghana covering all the identified hotspots in the country.  

The Champion of the Women’s Situation Room, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday, December 1 visited with the Women’s Situation Room at the Labadi Beach Hotel. The former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki also visited the WSR.   Ten youths from Liberia left the country on Sunday, November 4 to observe the Ghanaian elections and participate in activities of the Women’s Situation Room.  They were joined by youth from Sierra Leone as they share their experiences and learn best practice on how to mitigate conflict during elections period.  The delegation from Liberia comprised of youth from Nimba and Bong counties, a youth from West Point, a representative from commercial female motorcyclist known as “Pink Panthers”, a female journalist and some youth from ABIC youth program. The African Women Development Funds (AWDF) has financed this delegation, while UNDP-Ghana is financing the WSR activities in Ghana

 

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PRESS STATEMENT

Press Statement by Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh

Establishment Coordinator

Angie Brooks International Centre for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security

Monrovia, Liberia

 

 Thursday, 4th August, 2016 at 12 noon

 

Good afternoon ladies and gentle of the media. Let me first recognize the presence of Hon. Olubanke King-Akerele, Chair of the Board of Directors of ABIC, who is presiding over this press conference.  We are extremely grateful to Hon. King-Akerele, who is the brain behind the formation of this Centre and has continued to maintain close association and monitor our day to day operations especially in my absence

 

 I wish you all a belated happy July 26!  Hope you all had a wonderful celebration as our country turned 169 years old. Regardless of the challenges we have faced over the years as a country and people, it is important for us to remain patriotic always appreciating our independence. Although times are tough and the" no money" syndrome a common talk, we should celebrate with whatever little we have and remain grateful to God for our survival.  One of the most important reasons to happily celebrate our independence is due to this fact that we have uninterruptedly survived 169 years as an independent nation despite the numerous challenges that had the propensity to lead to our collapse.  Others may argue that our progress has been slow but it remains an indisputable fact that we have been resilient not to lose our dignity. The generations after us should know and learn to appreciate it. While it is true we may have slipped and fallen at some point during these years, we never compromised our independence and today, we are back with our heads high.  We are once again greatly respected amongst the comity of nations.  The last ten years have been highly significant for our restoration as women have taken the lead in restoring our lost glory.

There are countless number of evidences within the last ten years to substantiate the gains by women in restoring our lost image; ranging from the incredible works of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the enormous contributions of the market women, farmers and the innovations of women in civil society. While the world as a whole and the international community specifically continue to recognize and applaud these landmarks progress women of Liberia are making to restore our heritage, little attention is paid to them by our own media.  Our media focuses more of its attention on the negatives things and neglect the many good works and historic achievements being made by Liberian women in and outside the country.  They are carried away by sensationalism under the guise that “...Good news is not news and no news is good news”.  This is an unacceptable media practice and I think it is about time that our media change this course and forge a new direction of highlighting those little things that will promote a positive image of our country.  In other words, we have to dignify, appreciate and value all aspects of our works and contributions in society that are contributing to global serenity. We must report and document both our achievements and challenges.  And failure to do so will amount to relinquishing our glory and surrendering our status amongst nations. This is why we need the media to be patriotic in trumpeting whatever achievements we attain each day for our country.  As the common saying goes “... If you do not say I am; nobody will say thou are.”

 

In this connection distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the media, I am very pleased to let you know that the women of Liberia continue to make headways and set the agenda for women’s participation in promoting peace and mitigating conflict both in Liberia and elsewhere on our continent.  As you all are aware, the women of Liberia were particularly instrumental in the process that led to the restoration of peace in Liberia through the women mass action for peace movement in 2003.  Since then, the women of Liberia have played active role in maintaining the peace and initiating conflict prevention mechanisms in Liberia and across Africa.  As it is common practice for elections in Africa to erupt into violence, Liberian women and youth  in a coalition of Civil Society Organizations including: YWCA, MARWOPNET, WIPNET, WANEP, ECOWAS Women, FLY, LINSU,  Voice of the Voiceless, Market Women Association, Rural Women Association,  facilitated  by  the Angie Brooks International Centre  (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security initiated the Women’s Situation Room (WSR) during the 2011 general and presidential elections as a conflict mitigation mechanism to help avert any potential conflict that could jeopardize sustained peace in Liberia.  Let me point out here that initial support for this initiative was pioneered by UNDP.  As a matter of fact, UNDP is regarded as the ‘god father’ of the WSR, given the extraordinary role they played from its inception, wherein the former Country Director, Mr. Dominic Sam spearheaded support to the first WSR and went on to being an integral part of the process by visiting the Room on elections day. 

 

Another key partner we would like to recognize is UNWomen.  UN Women has been an integral partner in ensuring the success of the Room and as such we are extremely grateful. 

 

It will interest you to know that since the passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in October 2000, the WSR was one of the first recorded initiatives by civil society actors to ensure women’s active participation in mediation, negotiation and mitigation of conflict.  Not just did it involve the women and youth of Liberia but it brought together eminent women from across the region to share their experiences and expertise in mitigating and curtailing violence before, during and after the elections.  This innovative unprecedented initiative proved very successful and thus has claimed the attention of Africa and the world. In January 2012 , on the margins of the 18th African Unions heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the “Gender is my Agenda Campaign” (GIMAC) adopted the Women’s Situation Room as a “best practice” and asked for it to be replicated at all elections in Africa with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested to Champion the initiative, which she accepted.  She in turn charged the Angie Brooks International Centre with the implementation of that mandate. From 2012 to present, the initiative has been replicated in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.  Currently, modalities are underway for its replication in Ghana during the forthcoming elections slated for later this year in December from where I am addressing you guys. 

 

Lest I forget, let me remind you that during the celebrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2013, ABIC was awarded the Pan- African Service Award for Peace and Security as well as women’s empowerment on the African Continent as a result of the WSR.  This award by the African Union was symbolically turned over to the women and youth of Liberia immediately upon my return to the country at a formal program on August 8, 2013.  This was because the women and youth of Liberia were the initial implementers of the revolutionary idea and ABIC initiated and facilitated the process. The ABIC has continued to receive national and international recognition for the WSR with calls from various countries for the replication of the WSR in their countries.  ABIC has been able to guide civil society organizations including women and youth groups as well as state and other non-state actors in executing the various activities of the WSR as they deemed fit and appropriate for their context. Of particular significance is that the WSR was replicated during our senatorial election in 2014 in concert with our partner organizations (YWCA, MARWOPNET, WIPNET, WANEP, ECOWAS Women, FLY, LINSU, Voice of the Voiceless, Market Women Association, Rural Women Association amongst others).

 

In all of these replications, the women of Liberia and Liberia as a whole have been recognized for this great innovation.  President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who herself has played a cardinal role in each of the replications as Champion of the Room has been pleased with the progress of the WSR and its remarkably positive contribution it brings to Liberia.  Just two weeks ago, at the National Women’s Conference held at the Paynesville City Hall, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf specifically lauded the ABIC for the WSR, which she noted was making headways globally.  She noted that such an initiative along with other outstanding contributions from the women of Liberia continue to give Liberia the due recognition it deserves amongst the comity of nations.

 

These recognitions provide an opportunity for the media to further highlight what Liberian women are doing locally and international for the glory of Liberia.  Indeed at the recent 7717 meeting of the United Nations Security Council held on 15th June 2016 in connections with the Council’s consideration of the item entitled “Women and peace and security”, the statement of the President of the Security Council, Mogens Lykketoft, highlighted the Women’s Situation Room and acknowledged how it has helped to prevent or mitigate the eruption and escalation of violence, inter alia through observing and monitoring and by engaging stakeholders in constructive dialogue and peace advocacy.  Excerpt of the President of the Security Council's statement is as follows:

 

 “The Security Council emphasizes the important role that women and civil society, including women’s organizations and formal and informal community leaders, as well as religious leaders, can play in exerting influence over parties to armed conflict.  The Security Council welcomes women-led prevention initiative such as the Women’s Situation Rooms throughout Africa, which have helped to prevent or mitigate the eruption and escalation of violence, inter alia through observing and monitoring, and by engaging stakeholders in constructive dialogue and peace advocacy.”

 

Members of the fourth estate, for us, such recognitions are extraordinary not just for us as an organization but to the women of Liberia and the Republic of Liberia at large.  It is more than just applauding our work.  It recognizes the immense role women, especially Liberian women, are playing is driving global actions that impact women.  It signifies that Liberian women are not back benchers but are key stakeholders in executing global agenda.  It gives our country the due recognition and respect amongst the comity of Nations.

 

Additionally, these recognitions of the WSR, not only by our President, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other local actors, but also by the African Union in 2013 and now the United Nations Security Council give the process of the WSR a high visibility, legitimacy and credibility as well as acknowledge its integrity and neutrality as it champions the cause of non-violence before, during and after elections.

 

As our nation prepares for the crucial 2017 general and presidential elections, our ability to successfully replicate the WSR will be crucial to sustaining the gains made during previous elections in Liberia and the sub-region.  Let me hasten to say, no one organization can achieve this feat.  Like in previous years we will work with all women groups and youth organizations as well as stakeholders including our Chiefs and Traditional Leaders, political parties, our National Elections Commission, the media, religious leaders,  all security forces and the citizens of Liberia in ensuring a peaceful 2017 general and presidential elections.  Of equal significance is the supportive role of UNDP during this process and we hope to build on previous cooperation from UNDP to help make this a success. There are huge challenges ahead as we prepare for 2017 but these challenges are not insurmountable as the women of Liberia have accomplished even more difficult tasks before.  Together we can sustain the peace of Liberia.

 

Thank you.  

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Links

Democratic Control of Armed Forces* (DCAF)
https://www.dcaf.ch/

Kofi Annan Foundation
https://www.kofiannanfoundation.org