Center for Counseling and Restorative Dialogue (CCRD) in partnership with ActionAid Liberia, have trained several community leaders on how to conduct massive awareness to help stop mob violence and advocate for peace within their communities.
Speaking at the ActionAid Liberia sponsored two-day training held in Monrovia recently, CCRD Executive Director, Ali Sylla, said the training was intended to prepare community leaders on how to address mob violence and to console community members that were victims of the Liberian civil crisis.
Mr.Sylla disclosed that youth violence in the last ten years shows that young people are resorting to violence more than ever as a means of resolving issues that could be peacefully settled through due process of law and mediation or negotiation.
He said the youth of Liberia must learn how to peacefully address issues in their communities through dialogue. The team, he said, would be deployed in seven (7) communities including WestPoint, Chicken Soup Factory, Slipway, among others, to train residents about handling issues peacefully and putting an end to mob violence.
He explained that Liberia experienced one of the most destructive civil conflicts in Africa with nearly fourteen years of war and instability that ran from 1989 to 2003, which dramatically changed the religious, social, political and economic landscape of the nation.
“During this period, some of the most basic social fabrics that held communities and the nation together were badly eroded. Families and communities were disintegrated and displaced, and personal trust that served as a major element for relationship building and social interaction and cohesion vanished. Thus, the very things that many people in the Liberian society looked up to for guidance and hope disappeared before their very eyes leaving them hopeless,” he said.
Mr. Sylla recounted that in 2003, warring factions in the Liberian conflict signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) bringing to an end a period of intermittent but direct violence between the factions.
The accord set the pace for a transition from war to peace with the successful holding of elections in 2005, 2011 and 2014. The elections gave the nation the opportunity to test its restraints by engaging in a process of settling political differences with a high level of civility. Since then, Liberia has embarked on a path of reconciliation, reunification, reconstruction and development. Though the CPA resulted in the cessation of direct violence between warring factions in Liberia, violence between individuals at the community level is nearly returning the nation to its war era levels of violence, and especially active in this post war violence are youths.
Sylla used the medium to urge all youths to put an end to mob violence or any forms of violence that will set the country backward. He also encouraged them to be peaceful in handling issues within their communities.