The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Madam Karin Landgren, has said that the security situation in Liberia remains "generally stable".
The SRSG made the observation when she recently addressed the 72nd summit of the United Nations.
“When I say we welcome the news, this means that since the last report to the Secretary General, security within the country has been generally stable without any major outbreaks of violence. We are not saying the situation is rosy in terms of the types of violence that I have mentioned. UNMIL works with the government to monitor what is happening around the country in terms of security. Both in terms of incidence of violence in concessionaire areas, in demonstrations and issues like sexual and gender based violence, where we work to maintain statistics of cases that are reported.”
According to Madam Landgren, during her visits to various bases of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) throughout the country, she noticed one of the challenges which UNMIL has raised many times is that a vast majority of the LNP is in the capital. As a result, there is not an even spread of police covering the rest of the country.
“When I visited them in the county capitals, I always find they have inadequate logistics. A majority of their cars are broken, they have difficulty getting fuel, they have no communications equipment and sometimes they don’t have furniture or uniforms. Their numbers are usually far below the numbers they are supposed to have officially. I heard about how little they earned and how difficult it is to be stationed in some of these more remote locations. This is why we are advocating strongly for greater support to the LNP and BIN. However, for that to be effective, these security agencies also need well functioning internal systems,” the SRSG explained.
She said UNMIL has been sharing their expertise on how to manage budgets and human resources. They have taught members of the LNP and BIN how to better maintain vehicles and their facilities so they don’t fall apart immediately, since these are some of the systems that need to be strengthened.
Madam Landgren mentioned Ghana has been supporting this by bringing groups of LNP officers for training at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. She said strengthening how these actors manage their own resources is a big part of making them more effective.
“Let me turn to the Security Sector— in particular, the Police. As you know, some important steps were agreed upon at a security sector reform retreat last September. These steps included professionalizing the police by appointing senior officials from within their ranks and increasing transparency in tenure and promotion systems.
The LNP and BIN have been working to become more effective institutions. So it has been frustrating to see the facilities vacated by UNMIL in Foya standing empty for over a year, waiting to become a BIN training center; and to see a new LNP training centre in Harper, inaugurated last September, still standing idle. Over the past few months, the Government has made significant commitments to strengthening the security sector,” Madam Landgren said.
In efforts to have the LNP and BIN equipped to take over the country she said, the Minister of Finance has been personally involved in trying to make it easier for funds related to UNMIL security transition to be disbursed to the police, the immigration service and other agencies.
“I am not sure this has had measurable success yet, but we look forward to good news. The police training academy has over a thousand recruits waiting to start training and over 250 people ready to graduate.
The President herself has committed to activating more training resources and promised better use of facilities for training. President Sirleaf has committed to having a better balance in the 2014-15 national budgets between investments in infrastructure, and investments in national security,” she concluded.
Madam Landgren assured Liberia of UNMIL’s continued support and promised to work with their many partners by contributing to the LNP and BIN.