Ahead of the senatorial election and the controversial referendum the Foundation for Human Rights Defense International (FOHRD), a non-for-profit human rights organization that works to promote equal justice, document and publish cases of religious, political and other discriminations and demand freedom and justice for all, has begun a week long peace awareness in communities to educate electorates to disengage from electoral violence and settle disputes peacefully.
The parade campaign began at the organization’s office in Congo Town, with volunteers distributing stickers with peace messages and bearing inscriptions, “Accept the election results and settle disputes peacefully; Elections are not war, they help sustain our democracy. Say no to election violence.”
Peter N. Wonokay, FOHRD Country Director, said Liberia went through 14 years of civil war because people were not satisfied with election results and therefore took the laws into their own hands. His organization, therefore, thought to commence peace awareness with citizens, particularly young people who are always at the front of violence.
He said “If people were to sit at the table to discuss electoral issues, Liberia would not have gone through the war. So, as this election is coming up, we decided to carry our campaign to educate people on electoral violence.”
Mr. Wonokay also said that the campaign is mainly targeting young people who are often used by politicians to carry out electoral violence. “Young people are used to carry out violence because they are strong especially now in our country because we do not have industries running”
When asked whether his organization has reach out to politicians, Peter said, “In this December 8, 2020 senatorial election, we will reach out to politicians soon.”
He noted that there is a symposium that FORHD is planning to have with politicians. “We will always continue to engage political parties so after the election we will still talk to politicians. After this awareness exercise we will schedule a meeting with them.”
Wonokay added that though Election Day is near, it is important for peace messages to be preached throughout because everyone is concentrating on election especially in Monrovia.
He added that though they are not going in other counties, they have developed jingles and peace drama that has been played on local radio stations in the various counties.