Dialogue among Peace Messengers: National Security and the Rule of Law

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By Randolphlyn Darlyn Johnson and Bill Ivans Gbafore Messengers of Peace Liberia, Inc.

National security is the security of a nation’s state including its citizens, economy, healthcare, institutions, etc. This is not solely a government’s responsibility; it should be embraced by the citizens as well. Harold Brown, U.S secretary of defense (1977-1981), states that “national security refers to the ability of a country to preserve the physical integrity and territory; to maintain its economic relationship with the rest of the world on reasonable terms; to preserve its nature, institutions and governance from disputation from outside and to have control over its border.” The entire aforementioned can only be achieved through collaborative efforts between government and citizens.

Having a blueprint to go by is a great advantage for us as Liberians; we depend on bold action by the United Nations which shaped a comprehensive regional strategy while rapidly building our peace force up to strength. The arrival of the blue helmets in 2003 brought more than an end to our civil unrest; they empowered local communities and youths to stand up for sustainable peace and development. This enabled us to recover gradually from a broken state to assume full responsibility of our peace and security sector.

A major step forward could be the proper administration of the Rule of Law. Injustices undermine stability and lawlessness goes before violence.  Therefore, in order for peace to be retained, the rule of law should be implemented rightly.  According to the Oxford’s Dictionary, the rule of law refers to “the authority and influence of law in society; especially when viewed as constraints on  individual and institutional behavior; hence the principle whereby all members of society(including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes .”

The rule of law implies that every individual is subject to the law irrespective             of their social or economic  status. The rule of law is important because it checks abuse of power by authorities and leverage justice for all.  It empowers individuals with rights to seek justice through due process and abstain from personal attacks and mob violence. Also, it treats everyone equal without discrimination.

Our mission at Messenger of Peace – Liberia Inc. (MOP) is to reach out to young people and empower them with basic peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills. We also encourage them to address issues through dialogues and in nonviolent manners. We give youths the platform to lead initiatives that strengthens the capacity of local communities through peacebuilding.

We acknowledge the Government of Liberia’s unwavering support towards our work through the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Monrovia City Corporation. It is our ardent hope that they will consistently join efforts with these young people in implementing peacebuilding initiatives, particularly community dialogues while administering the rule of law to the fullest so as to mitigate conflicts.

We understand and respect the fact that technical and logistical constraints sometimes hinder speedy response. However, we hope that effective communication and other methods to ensure that the rule of law takes its course be used. Injustice undermines peace and stability; setting up a decentralized framework consisting of immediate justice response systems will enhance personal security to a greater extent.

In cases where citizens continually express lack of trust in national justice systems, we can’t sit and fold our hands. It demands positive action from relevant authorities as well as from every well-meaning Liberian. We appreciate the gains made and hope that more can be done in sustaining national peace and security.

Kindly follow us next week Thursday for another edition of our Dialogue among Peace Messengers.

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