Source: The Liberian Journal
UN Envoy Loj briefs Security Council on Liberia
New York-Monrovia – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Løj, in a briefing to the UN Security Council today congratulated Liberians for seven years of unbroken peace–which is a remarkable achievement–but noted that substantial international support and assistance are still needed for sustainable peace and development.
She commended the Government’s efforts in reaching the Completion Point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, calling it a “milestone” critical to Liberia’s success in implementing its Poverty Reduction Strategy. However, despite the progress made, much work remains in consolidating Liberia’s fragile peace, including in the areas of rule of law, security sector reform and national reconciliation. “While the overall situation in Liberia has remained stable, it continues to be fragile, and additional progress is needed in several areas to truly consolidate the peace,” the SRSG said.
SRSG Løj noted that Liberia still faces destabilizing security challenges that often arise from mob violence, ethnic and communal tensions, and competition for access to natural resources, land disputes, sexual and gender-based violence and armed robbery. The SRSG also underlined high rates of unemployment as a major concern for sustained recovery and future stability.
The SRSG emphasized the need for “substantial donor support” for key security institutions – police, immigration and corrections services – to move forward strategic plans presented at a special partners’ forum a year ago to adequately address potential security challenges. She stated, “Given the fact that Liberia’s major security threats are internal rather than external, it will be important to ensure that these security institutions are strengthened to professionally meet their future operational challenges.”
The UN Envoy used the examples of the security incidents in Harper and Lofa, to highlight the challenge Liberian institutions still face in dealing independently with conflicts that rapidly escalate. “These easily overwhelm local security institutions and require UNMIL intervention to contain” SRSG Løj said.
The 2011 presidential and legislative elections will be a critical test for Liberia on its path to democratic stability. SRSG Løj described the recently adopted compromised legislation, “as a significant achievement.” She called for continued international community’s support for the work of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to ensure that the electoral body is able to fulfill its mandate and meet expectations for free, fair and transparent elections.
SRSG Løj urged the Liberian Senate to confirm the list of presidential nominees to the Independent National Commission on Human Rights as soon as possible. “This is crucial, as the Commission will both be necessary to support reconciliation efforts as well as serve as the publicly accessible human rights institution for all Liberians; national reconciliation is crucial for durable peace in Liberia,” she said.
She concluded by calling on the international community to give Liberia the assistance, time and space necessary to consolidate its peace and expressed confidence that Liberians will be able to continue to count on the support of the Security Council.