This year Liberia joined other countries of the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace, amidst social media reports of planned violence ahead of the 2023 General and Presidential elections.
On the 21st of September each year, the world observes International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day, set aside by the United Nations to ensure the absence of violence and war with the possibility of a temporary ceasefire.
The celebration, which was held in Monrovia on Wednesday, September 21, brought together participants from several countries within the sub-region and the Sahel, as well as development partners.
The celebration, supported by the UN Women and UNFPA, sought to raise awareness of the importance of sustaining the peace in the region and the Sahel with emphasis on women and youth's role in mediation, conflict resolution, and early warning.
Acting Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hassen N. Karneh, who welcomed participants, called on the citizens to make sure to sustain the peace in order to ensure peace and security within the region.
Karneh said that without peace no nation can progress so it is important that countries in the West African region and the Sahel do all they can to sustain the peace.
“The importance of peace for any society is obvious. Without peace, no nation and individual can move forward. Only in a peaceful atmosphere can we continue to grow as a nation and secure our children's future,” he told the participants of the program.
According to him, over the years Liberia has done a significant job in taking necessary measures to end all forms of violence against women and girls and ensure that they are empowered and promoted inclusively.
However, he stated that despite the gains, Liberia and the Region still experience continued peacebuilding challenges triggered by land disputes, human rights abuses and violations.
“As we celebrate the International Day of Peace today, let us remember that the challenge is enormous but it is our responsibility to make sure we work together. As we look forward, we reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women as the foundation for a more peaceful and prosperous country.
According to the Acting Minister of Gender, President George M. Weah has not remained silent on issues that affect women and girls in the country since he took over as leader.
“The President has paid keen attention to issues affecting women and girls and has mandated us, his lieutenants, to carry out our work and we have done so intentionally and purposefully. Thanks to the President, the First Lady and their family and the entire Legislature and Judiciary, as well as our peace-loving people of this country, for maintaining the peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, Madam Meima Sirleaf-Karneh, Country Representative of the Working Group on Women, Youth, Peace and Security in West Africa and the Sahel (WGWYPS-WAS), who also spoke during the program, mentioned that the celebration of the Day of Peace coincided with the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Working Group, as well as the country’s Bicentennial.
Sirleaf-Karneh said that the WGWPS-WAS Group was established in April 2009 as an inclusive platform for sharing experience, analysis, and participatory evaluation of initiatives for the promotion and implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 2250 (2015) and the subsequent resolutions on the involvement of women and youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding mechanisms.
She said that one of the key activities of the Group is their annual meeting, which venue is agreed upon each year by members.
“For the past ten years, this meeting has been an opportunity for members to meet and share experiences and best practices for the harmonization of regional initiatives in the implementation of the UN resolutions on women, youth, peace, and security,” she explained.
According to her, the Group is currently holding its traditional annual meeting from September 19-23, 2022.
She explained that the objective of their meeting is to strengthen the synergy of actions in the implementation and follow-up of the UN Security Council Resolutions.
“This year it is to celebrate the International Day of Peace as part of the annual meeting celebration,” she mentioned.
Sirleaf-Karneh said for Liberia in particular, peace will be sustained provided the citizens know that peace flourishes when people connect, reason and work together to sustain the peace.
“For Liberia in recent days, we have had issues in the social media about war and other civil disruption. We at the Working Group stand for peace and are proud to partner with countries in the sub-region and the Sahel. As we join the rest of the world to celebrate this day, we call upon every citizen and political party to commit to holding the peace as we draw toward the 2023 elections. Remember that without peace, there can be no development,” she cautioned.