Liberia’s Future Is Bright

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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has told her international partners and counterparts from other countries— who are in Abuja, Nigeria commemorate part of  its Centenary Celebration of the nation’s Amalgamation— that Liberia has come a long way, yet still has a long way to go. She said the future is bright and full of promise because the Liberian people, walking away from the terror of the past, have made it so.
The Liberian President said in the interest of creating a free, fair and open Liberian society, she has striven to have an inclusive government; one that is courageous enough to include people from all parties, all counties, and all religions, even those who have maligned her. She said this is in line with her policy to create an environment where all Liberians are assured of their right to own and enjoy the benefits of their homeland.
According to a dispatch from Abuja, Nigeria, President Sirleaf spoke on Thursday February 27, 2014 at a one day summit organized by Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The summit is one of several occasions in commemoration of Nigeria’s Centenary Celebration of its Amalgamation, an occasion that took place on the 28th.
President Sirleaf was invited to make a presentation on:  “Human Security and National Reconciliation: The Liberian Experience.”
In her presentation, President Sirleaf told her audience that Liberia’s peace and prosperity is intertwined with that of all African countries, particularly those in the West African sub-region. She indicated that this is why Liberians applaud the tremendous effort Nigeria is making to contain its internal conflict, and— through significant contribution— the conflict in several other nations in the region.
She said central to the provision of human security and national reconciliation is transparency in the utility of the country’s natural and God-given resources. To this end, she said Liberia signed on to the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and partnered with Resource Watch to improve transparency and accountability in mining, agriculture, forestry and nascent oil sectors, going beyond the required to include forestry and agriculture to ensure that revenues generated from the natural resources can bring more benefits to all citizens.
According to the Liberian leader, also central to national reconciliation in Liberia is the National “Palava Hut” Program.  The National Palava Hut program is based off the Gacaca in Rwanda, and serves as a traditional and cultural conflict resolution mechanism in rural Liberia. It was launched in October last year.
She said Palava Hut Talks, in the form of community-based truth-telling, atonement and psychological recovery, provide victims and perpetrators a safe space to tell their stories and seek means of fostering national peace and reconciliation. She noted that an Independent National Commission on Human Rights is overseeing the process and coordinating its activities.
“We have challenged the commission, traditional and religious leaders, the Liberian Council of Churches, the Muslim Council, political parties, civil society and all Liberians to fully participate and support the National Palava Hut Program, in order to ensure lasting peace and harmony,” President Sirleaf said.
On the continental front, the President said Africa ranks high on the perception ladder of potentially successful transformation made possible by the support of our regional institutions and underpinned by the African Union, which continues to place peace and security as top priorities.
She observed that the winds of solidarity, cooperation and the pursuit of integration blow strong among all African nations. She said if this continued, perhaps the dream of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah for political union would finally come true.  
In addition to a keynote address by President Jonathan setting out the human security and development agenda for Africa in the 21st century, the Summit heard goodwill messages by visiting Heads of State, Government and Heads of Delegations.
Explaining the conference, Nigerian officials pointed out that the commitment and contributions of Nigeria to peace in Africa and around the world are widely acknowledged. It is in that spirit that the country seized the opportunity of the centenary celebrations to hold a one-day summit-level international conference.
The conference also sought to reaffirm Nigeria’s and Africa’s commitment to global human security, peace and development; to highlight and seek support for a continental and global agenda for peace and human security for the 21st century.

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