LIBERIA: WONGOSOL’s Calls For Women’s Involvement In Advocating – For TRC Recommendation

Madam Esther S. Davies Yango, WONGOSOL Executive Director

A local Civil Society group in the country known as  “ Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia,(WONGOSOL)  established in 1998,  with a   mission  to empower women through active participation at all levels of society, and  end gender-based discrimination is calling for more women involvement in advocating for the implementation of The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendation .

She expressed the believed that this can be done if women organization pressurize their law makers to signed for the for the implementation of The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendation.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is a Parliament-enacted organization created in May 2005 under the Transitional Government. The Commission worked throughout the first mandate of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after her election as President of Liberia in November 2005.

The TRC recommendation contains major findings on: the root causes of the conflict, the impact of the conflict on women, children and the generality of the Liberian society; responsibility for the massive commission of Gross Human Rights Violations (GHRV), and violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL) as well as Egregious Domestic Law Violations (EDLV).

The report also determined and recommended that Criminal Prosecution for these violations, Reparations and a “Palava Hut” Forum is necessary and desirable to redress impunity, promote peace, justice, security, unity and genuine national reconciliation.

Findings and recommendations of the report and a summary of the major findings, determinations and recommendations will be published in at least three major local daily newspapers shortly.

The TRC was agreed upon in the August 2003 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra and created by the TRC Act of 2005. The TRC was established to “promote national peace, security, unity and reconciliation,” and at the same time make it possible to hold perpetrators accountable for gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law that occurred in Liberia between January 1979 and October 2003.

The TRC recommended that the Government of Liberia assumes its full responsibility under international law to provide reparations for all those individuals and communities victimized by the years of instability and war, especially women and children..

Speaking at a start of a four days capacity building Training   of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendation, advocating and Monitoring of the TRC the Executive Director of WONGOSOL, Madam Esther S. Davies Yango, said the establishment of war crimes court will provide justice for many women, who were victimized as the result of the war.

Madam Yango disclosed that the capacity building training on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations, advocacy and monitoring of the TRC is currently implementing a project intended to “Enhance Women’s Meaningful Participation in National Advocacy for Accountability for War Crimes in Liberia”.

She emphasized that the project, which is on-going in six counties: Lofa, Nimba, Bong, Bomi, Montserrado and Grand Bassa, will empower women who were affected greatly to advocate in their districts and counties for lawmakers to enact into law a bill for the establishment of the court.

She maintained that too many women are living with bullets in their bodies, and the establishment of the war crimes court will allow them to explain their stories, which would be documented.

According to her, WONGOSOL is partnering with seven local civil society organizations in these counties, and providing intensive training to enhance the participation of local women in the advocacy to ensure that those who committed human rights are brought to book.

She said she believes that the war crimes court will serve as a deterrent for would-be human rights abusers to rethink themselves before engaging into any act of war in Liberia in the future.

Yango explained that the project, which is expected to last for five months, is being supported by the Women Peace Humanitarian Fund of the United Nations.

“The project’s overall goal is to build on the current international and local momentum to increase women’s voices, representation and meaningfully participate in on-going advocacy, aimed at generating the political will for the Liberian government to prioritize the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia,” she stated.

She clarified that the project will also provide support for women CSOs initiatives in creating awareness about the importance of establishing a war crimes court to address the knowledge gap amongst women and girls concerning the TRC’s recommendations, advocacy steps and monitoring framework.

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