- Promoting Conflict Or Peace Through Identity - Google книги
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In —in the aftermath of the conflict—illiteracy, poverty, and diseases of the mind, body and spirit still remain issues of concern that require strategic interventions. The majority of the indigenous Liberians were hostile to the ACS initiative, as it disrupted the slave trade, caused displacement inland from coastal areas to accommodate the immigrant population, diminished incomes from human trafficking, and changed their religious and socio-cultural identities as well as the ways of life to which they were accustomed.
The indigenous populations were either Muslim or Animists and traditional practitioners. The prevailing situation affected peace, safety and security of both population segments. There is documentation that influential indigenous leaders of the Islamic faith, inhabiting the coastal region of modern day Liberia, entered into agreements with settlers inhabiting land under their control or in proximity thereto.
As such, they helped to provide safety and security for the settler population when there were situations of threat posed by adjacent hostile tribes or belligerent slave traders still operative during that period. Religious groups in Liberia are made up principally of Muslims, Christians, and practitioners of African traditional religions. However, these categories often blend with some observers noting that Muslims and Christians maintain dual adherence and ascribe to traditional religions as well. It has been said that the problem is not religion but rather people and how their process of socialization has influenced development of their expression of religious faith and understanding of identity.
In addition some alliances of religion and ethnicity have been seen to undermine peace and cause conflict, especially where there are attempts by various ethnic groups to use religion to influence the general population or a segment thereof, impacting the outcomes in political processes and democratization in Liberia and other countries of the sub-region.
In the case of Liberia, the conflict was not of a religious nature until some prominent Muslim factional and political personalities advocated with Arab nations to support a holy war in Liberia. It has been reported that this amount exceeded development aid given to Liberia for the years between and , some of which was used for internal conflict, as there were no external threats to national peace and sovereignty at that time.
Consequently, former President Col. Muamar Gadhafi of Libya supported the training of invasion forces headed by former President Charles G.
Promoting Conflict Or Peace Through Identity - Google книги
The role of Libya in the Liberian situation has been revealed in statements taken during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC public hearings as well as in testimonies of persons during the trial of former President Charles Taylor at the Criminal Court in The Hague. Hence, the burdens in terms of financial costs and personnel were borne primarily by countries such as Nigeria and Ghana.
The political and diplomatic costs were excessive with intervention of peacekeeping forces initially deployed as ECOMOG.
Several hundred peacekeepers lost their lives. The influx of regional African actors and troops, as well as consultations involving leaders, affected the stability of the region and the dynamics of the conflict in Liberia. Tensions ensued within the ECOWAS framework between the Anglophone and Francophone countries as modalities were being finalized leading up to the strategic financial support and military interventions.
There is also evidence of external geo-political influence during and after the conflicts and in the process of democratization. Related to this is the fact that interventions of ECOMOG and later UNMIL were made possible through the mobilization of resources from foreign governments as well as international agencies and organizations. Observers and analysts point out that the role of ECOWAS originally established as an economic integration body shifted to a security posture in Liberia and other MRU Countries during the decades of conflict.
The shift in the role of ECOWAS to a security posture in Liberia and other MRU countries resulted in a significant number of fatalities of peacekeepers and hundreds of thousands of Liberians and other residents. Liberians in particular reflect on this historic shift and the perception of the compromise in neutrality of some peacekeepers, especially in situations where enforcement was required to end violent conflicts between warring factions. ECOMOG was successful in separating the warring factions, assisting the repatriation of foreign nationals and Liberians to safety in neighbouring countries, installing the Interim Government and maintaining peace in the enclave of Monrovia, disarmament and providing security for the conduct of presidential elections.
It encountered several setbacks such as coming under direct attack, getting directly involved in the war and not being able to restructure the new Liberian army in keeping with the Abuja Accords. The arrest and gruesome murder of former President Samuel K. Doe by Prince Y. This ultimately resulted in the distribution of close to 8 million small arms and light weapons in the hands of non-state actors who threatened human life and undermined democracies in MRU countries.
The arms and light weapons in the hands of non-state actors, maintenance of state control during crises as a consequence of weak economies, and diminished capacities are challenges facing the MRU governments during post-conflict reconstruction. Consequently, Liberia has experienced greater reliance on foreign support, the participation of expatriates in nation building, and the exclusion of nationals and some returnees from the Diaspora from opportunities in private and public service.
Finally, in the aftermath of the violent conflicts throughout the sub-region, former ECOWAS peacekeepers have ended their commissions, and remained in Liberia and other countries of service. In addition, during the conflicts, peacekeepers fathered children and established families in host countries. Observers have noted that in the short term, these de-commissioned personnel are making significant public and private sector contributions in strengthening weak economies during reconstruction.
At this juncture, it is still early to project what long term implications these unique developments will have on contextual transformation and integration, as well as sustaining national peace and stability in the sub-region. Politico-economic disparities and identity-defining characteristics e.
Though Liberia was established through philanthropic efforts of the ACS during the decade of the s, without adequate and consistent support of the United States government, identity-based conflicts continued historically between the immigrants and indigenous Liberians. While interactions resulted in assimilation and integration of both groups of inhabitants, hindrances were due in part to environmental conditions, religious, political and socio-cultural challenges that exacerbated tensions between groups. It is worth noting that scholars often fail to adequately research and document several issues that impact this discussion.
The first point is that ethnic migrations into and within the sub-region generally and Liberia particularly have affected identity-based conflict in Liberia. Some migrations by Muslims and African traditional religious adherents pre-date the arrival of the settlers and Christianity as presented by them to indigenous Liberians. Second is the existence of ongoing conflicts between various ethnic groups, some of which also pre-date the arrival of settlers.
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The tensions and intermittent clashes between the descendants of settlers and indigenous Liberians, the communal violence between the Kpelles and Mandingoes in Bong County, and the constant frictions between the Mandingoes, Lormas, and Gios in Lofa and Nimba Counties respectively are also challenges to be addressed by the government. In the aftermath of the conflict, issues of land ownership amongst returnees, IDPs, and original land inhabitants, especially in Nimba and Lofa Counties, were soon transformed into religious situations as a result of pre-existing Lorma, Mandingo Muslim , and Mano or Geo tensions.
William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace International RfP , comments on the unique method formulated by RfP for building effective mechanisms to support cooperation among religious communities to transform conflict. He asserts that there are several stages of conflict to which we can match corresponding roles of faith communities.
In the latent conflict stage, there is the role of education. In the confrontation stage, there is the role of advocacy. In the negotiation stage, there is the role of mediation, and finally, in the post-conflict stage, there is the role of reconciliation. In all of these stages, the IRCL has been able to co-facilitate positive transformation, in collaboration with other stakeholders, with the endorsement by the Liberian government and supported by international partners.
The international partners need to maintain consistent support for capacity-building to strengthen institutions and structures. Premature disengagement and diminished support of the process of peacebuilding also will undermine the significant and historic attainments in Liberia and the MRU sub-region. With positive transformation of the context and reconstruction underway, there have been reductions in peacekeepers or changes in their roles. Additionally, decisions are being made by international donors to shift resources from peacebuilding to sustainable development.
In the MRU sub-region, when there is peace in country, all others are at peace. Conversely, when there is conflict, all others have conflict. Our peace has been described as fragile, and UNMIL peacekeeping forces are expected to remain in Liberia until after with reductions in the number of personnel from approximately 15, to about 8, While the government of Liberia has endorsed the TRC Report recommendations and established the Independent Human Rights Commission INHRC , there needs to be resource mobilization and stakeholder involvement in plan and strategy formulation for national implementation by the Commissioners.
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Related thereto, ongoing consultations, capacity building, and sensitizations are necessary to educate beneficiaries, disseminate information, and promote active participation, especially among beneficiaries in rural areas. The Liberian population and other residents, as direct or indirect beneficiaries of this process, need to be informed about the TRC Report recommendations and INHRC initiatives related to policies of government that would sustain durable peace and regional stability.
Finally, advocacy needs to be undertaken for resource mobilization that would ensure all of these challenges are appropriately addressed by IRCL, NTCL, and other CSOs in collaboration with other stakeholders. Historically, there have been networks established between public and private sector beneficiaries with institutional links throughout the MRU sub-region.
By maintaining collaborations, strengthening networks, advocating and mobilizing resources for institutional sustainability, and building national human resource capacity with the aim of promoting good governance and accountability, Liberia diminishes the probability of recurring identity-based conflict and maintains peace in the nation with positive implications for the MRU. In the post conflict context, leaders need to make some recommendations on the way forward to avoid recurrence of identity-based conflict in the sub-region.
While religion has been a source of conflict, we underscore the critical role of traditional and religious leaders, women of faith, and youth representing various faith communities of the IRCL and NTCL in conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Each can make important contributions to strategic long term economic planning and implementation, active participation of all actors in the process of societal transformation, and promotion and support of transitional justice mechanisms in addition to community-based reconciliation for durable peace in Liberia and stability in the MRU region.
As a result of various initiatives, both the IRCL and the NTCL respectively have significantly contributed to strengthening structures and systems in both urban and rural contexts of Liberia.
Local participation and international support enhanced the capacity of both institutions. Consequently, they remained involved in the negotiations during peace talks, eventually ending the prolonged and devastating Liberian conflict. Both institutions should maintain collaboration with other local and international partners to sensitize beneficiaries and facilitate the merger of western and traditional cultures as Liberians strive toward a shift in their common identity as Liberians.
All of these IRCs function at national, regional, continental, and international levels and cooperate to use collective resources to meet the challenges of our time. In each community—villages and urban areas--there are social assets in mosques, churches, temples and other societal structures. In these structures, significant channels of communication and action enable us to positively transform communities. The challenge is to mobilize these assets for networking, capacity-building and educating local populations. We Liberians have moral assets that build on and unleash the strength of our spiritualities.
We are uniquely positioned to use our moral stature and influence to encourage mutual understanding within our communities. Our spiritual assets can be manipulated if we let down our guard and become vulnerable to others who might use us for political, sectarian, or secular processes.
Individually and collectively, spirituality can provide us with courage and strength during adversity and tragedy. Similarly, spirituality can also provide unique potential resources and capacity to facilitate genuine reconciliation as well as inter-religious dialogue and cooperation among and between persons, communities, and nation states.
It is critical that governments in the MRU coordinate efforts with ECOWAS, the AU and international partners to address conflict in the MRU; it was they who principally led historic, strategic interventions by diverting resources from development to conflict transformation and peacekeeping. National and regional consultations have resulted in formulation of strategies and mechanisms that identify early warning signs and root causes as well as recommendations and possible solutions. Now sensitization is necessary to ensure these recommendations, strategies, and mechanisms are appropriately utilized by public and private sector stakeholders in development of a new paradigm to sustain national peace and regional stability.
Premature disengagement of international partners will result in diminution of human and financial resources, undermine historic accomplishments, and lead to recurring conflicts. The process of community based reconciliation with active participation of all stakeholders must be supported by government and international partners. Responsibility [edited by] Nikki Slocum-Bradley. Physical description vi, p.
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