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New York 17th March 2016- Charge D’ Affairs Ad interim of the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations Mr. George Patten has called on the international community to work collaboratively in coordinating the regional and sub-regional efforts to prevent terrorists from disturblizing peace and stability of the region. He said such call has become necessary in the wake of a recent attack which killed a number of civilians in neighboring Cote d’ ivoire .
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia in New York, Mr. Patten made the remarks Thursday , when he addressed the UN Security Council at ” Briefing on UNMIL , held at the UN Headquarters in New York. Mr. Patten said although the Liberian Government, given the support of partners, is prepared to assume the security responsibilities in the country when the United Nations’ Mission leaves by June 30 2016, it is important to address the negative perception being held by individuals on the alleged security vacuum to be created at the departure of UNMIL. Mr. Patten said such notion has been reinforced by the recent terrorist attack in Liberia’s neighboring country Cote d’ Ivoire coupled with the proposed relocation of the of the UN Rapid Response Force stationed in UNIC from Abidjan to Mali, as well as the pending general elections in 2017.
The Liberian Diplomat informed that the country has made significant progress in marinating political stability and peace for the past thirteen years following the civil war. This, he said, was achieved through the joint partnership with the international community. Saying ” With stability established, focus has now shifted to economic, infrastructural development, and governance reform”.
Mr. Patten commended the UN Secretary-General Ban Kin Moon for his assessment Report on Liberia, stressing that it represents a fairly accurate account of the prevailing situation in the country. He explained that the UNMIL has been a dependable partner in creating the platform for continued dialogue, and assistance towards the implementation of transition. In this regard, he intimated, steady progress has been made in security sector, including the training and building the capacity of the Liberian National police, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization , the deployment of officers in various parts of the counties among others.
On corruption, Mr. Patten acknowledged remains a challenge and a threat to good governance. He however, noted that the Government of Liberia through its relevant agencies including the Anti Corruption Commission and the Ministry of justice is not relenting in fighting the menace. Mr. Patten continued: ” Since our last report to this Council, a number of government officials , including the Managing Director of the National Port Authority , the former Minister Commerce, the former Managing Director of the Liberian Petroleum Refinery Company have been indicted on corruption charges. Last week, the President dissolved the board of directors of the Federation of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), Liberia in relation to the expenditure of funds donated for Ebola disease”. He added.
Others cases where conviction have been obtained according to Mr. Patten include, the PUP related economic sabotage case against the former Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Moses Wogbeh and other senior managers, convicted and sentenced to ten years imprisonment and ordered to restitute the amount of US 6 Million. In addition, Mr. Patten said, the former Comptroller of the National Drug Service (NDS) who was found guilty of economic sabotage and theft of property , was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and ordered to restitute US$179,000 and LD $958,000. Currently, said Mr. Patten, the cases involving the former board of Directors of the Liberian Oil Company(NOCAL ) and some senior officers as well as the former Managing Director of the Liberian Port Authority, Matilda W. Parker and the former Comptroller are ongoing at the Temple of Justice.
For his part, the Special Representative of the Secretary -General in Liberia Mr. Farid Zarif, said the expected completion of the security transition on 30th June this year, will be one of the most significant milestones for Liberia and the International community since the end of the country’s civil war and the signing of the Peace3 agreement in 2003. He however, urged Liberia and the international community not to lose sight of the still arduous path to a genuinely sustainable peace in Liberia and the region. This, he said will require a longer -term engagement and support of the international community.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the UN Women , Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, who visited Liberia recently said the country has a vibrant democracy and that the women continue to be resilient in the face of persisting challenges ” We applaud the strength of Liberian democracy since the end of conflict”. She pointed out that it is now time for the international community to continue investing in Liberian people’s broader resilience and recovery. She explained that the dividends of peace needs to flow greater and deeper for women and girls. She extolled the Liberian women for what she referred to as extraordinary role in halting, reversing and eliminating Ebola epidemic. She however frowned on the abuses Liberian women go through on daily basis.
” Liberian women have yet to benefit fully from the dividends of peace. The absence of war does not mean the presence of ” Complete peace”. We have to ask ourselves: what does peace mean for women when the experience the high daily levels of sexual and gender -based violence that they continue to experience today” She asked.