Liberia’s Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, has made a passionate plea to the United Nations’ Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to address the remaining needs in the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process in Liberia, a dispatch from the mission has said.
During a recent meeting with Ms. Ilene Cohn, Chief of the UN Security Sector Reform Unit (SSRU) at the DPKO, Amb. Kemayah acknowledged the very important and immeasurable role played by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in reforming Liberia’s National Security Sector; especially in building and strengthening the capacity of the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Liberia Immigration Service and the Armed Forces of Liberia, as well as working with civil society groups.
Kemayah recalled his personal experience then working in the NGO sector on the implementation of the peace agreement and the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (DDRR) process in Liberia, He also spoke highly of the role played by President George Weah.
The United States of America through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the international community as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union also played a major role.
“The USAID ‘War Affected Youth Support (WAYS) program’, implemented by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its collaborating partners provided child and youth ex-combatants with a vocational package, including literacy/numeracy courses and training on business development and other skills relevant to their communities– agriculture, masonry, construction, tailoring, carpentry, cosmetology, auto mechanics, etc. It also provided cash reward for guns turned in during the process.”
According to the dispatch, Amb. Kemayah explained that the Pro-poor Agenda is a people’s-centered policy that focuses on giving “power to the people” in the areas of governance, education, health, infrastructure, and agriculture.
Kemayah however, stressed that while the pro-poor agenda is a people’s-centered national policy, without the support of the international community, it would be difficult to implement and meet the high expectations of Liberians.
“President Weah has a lot of popularity which brings high expectations from the population. His government came to power through the most popular mandate of the Liberian people. Hence, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development will encounter challenges for its implementation without support from the international community. The need for the International Community to assist the Government of Liberia in the mobilization of resources and comprehensive support for the implementation of the country’s National Development Plan–the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development cannot be overly emphasized.”
Amb. Kemayah then informed Ms. Cohn of the pending visit of the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, and proposed a meeting between the Liberian Police Chief and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to discuss relevant SSR issues.
Ms. Cohn described the meeting as an opportunity for continued engagement with the Permanent Mission of Liberia on SSR related matters. She assured that as part of its mandate, the SSR Unit will continue to work with Liberia in its strive to sustain the peace following the departure of UNMIL.
She then encouraged Liberia to take advantage of the platforms of the Group of Friends (GOF) of SSR and the UN Inter-Agency SSR Task Force–the SSR Unit’s key coordination bodies, to put forward initiatives that the Country would like to undertake in 2019.
Ms. Cohn disclosed that the SSR Unit at the DPKO was interested in sharing Liberia’s lessons with other peacekeeping operations experiencing similar processes; especially on the integration of ex-combatants.