Ending Liberia's Suffering - Stopping Murder and Abductions by Warring Factions - Supporting Free and Fair Elections in 2003 sign now

Liberias Undeclared War Murder, Mayhem, and Abductions
The West Turns a Deaf Ear to the Appeals of Liberias Civilians
Position Statement By: Bisi Iderabdullah Executive Director and Founder of *IMANI HOUSE, Inc., and Rajesh Panjabi Human Right Activist

The war in Liberia, which began in 1989, officially ended in 1997. With free, internationally monitored elections, Charles Taylor, former National Patriotic Front Leader, won with an overwhelming majority. The people declared that they were tired after 7 years of war, and only wanted peace and stability returned to the country. However, 6 years have passed and there is little peace, and even less stability in Liberia than there was during the brutal and devastating civil war.

After the war ended, President Elect Taylor invited his Liberian political opponents and adversaries to return home and help rebuild the country. However, when former Deputy Speaker of the Interim Legislature (1995-1997) and war colleague Samuel Dokie, his wife, and members of their family were savagely murdered in 1997, many of those who had considered returning to Liberia, decided to remain in exile.

With Liberian Presidential elections scheduled for October of 2003, there are numerous candidates who have made known their desire to run for this position. But, Taylor has said that those Liberians who have not resided in Liberia within the last 10 years will not be allowed to run for office, even though the Liberian Constitution has no such mandate. Taylors government has also muffled free speech, and infringed heavily on its citizens human rights. There have been closures and burnings of radio stations, threats, intimidation, and arrest of media personnel, and anyone else for that matter, who appears to be willing to demand governmental accountability. As a result, many of those wishing to run for the upcoming Presidential elections have also remained outside of the country.

While it has been six years since the end of the civil war, and six years of President Taylors leadership, the country remains crippled and crumbling. If you visit Liberia, you will find it is without running water, electricity, or many of the infrastructures common in other African countries. Several banks have gone out of business, taking local and international residents money with them. There are large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who are marginally supported by international and local Non-Governmental Organizations. Schools are currently closed, educators and government workers are rarely and poorly paid, and Illiteracy is above 70\% (higher for women). Over the last six years Liberia has experienced a rapid decline in health, social, and welfare services. Diamond and timber mining seem to be the major exports, with a handful of government officials and internationals holding most of the rights to these lucrative businesses, while much of the population are proclaimed to be amongst the poorest of the poor by UN standards.

Liberia, although not officially at war, is under attack by a multi-ethnic warring faction, who call themselves, Liberians United For Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). It is reported that this small rebel group began fighting in 1999, in order to overthrow the Taylor government, and open the country to free and fair elections in 2003. It now appears however, that LURD is also victimizing and abusing innocent Liberians, and creating an atmosphere of hysteria, and fear among the civilian population - who have become weary of ever living a normal life, where they can begin to rebuild and secure a future for their children. Once again, Liberian civilians are being harassed, murdered, robbed of their meager possessions, and abducted in the name of peace.

On Wednesday April 9, 2003 at 2:55 pm, the semi-rural area of Jahtondo Town, (about 13 miles West of the capital city of Monrovia) was attacked by LURD rebels. The *IMANI HOUSE clinic was closing for the day, OXFAM was conducting a water and sanitation training workshop in our gazebo, and an emergency food distribution by the Seven Day Adventist group, ADRA was taking place nearby. There were also a large number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who had fled fighting in their villages, as well as many residents, and marketers, collecting food rations or participating in other activities when these attacks took place.

This LURD attack was especially brutal, killing and wounding several people, reportedly burning an elderly person in their home, and stealing the food that was intended for the displaced. As IDPs, aid workers and civilians fled the fighting, LURD troops proceeded to hunt down, and abduct at gunpoint, five staff of IMANI HOUSE, two visiting teenagers, and a number of others. These unwilling hostages, were then forced to carry loads of looted food and materials, including those taken from ADRA, the clinic and other surrounding facilities, into unknown destinations miles away from the capital city of Monrovia. In April, The World Food Program (WFP) asked the Liberian Government to offer protection to NGOs who distribute food in Liberia because several other attacks by LURD had taken place, with very similar results, and little resistance by government forces. These attacks are especially tragic given the poor condition of many IDPs who are mostly women and children.

To date four IMANI HOUSE members, as well as many others are still missing. Although, the head nurse at the clinic escaped from LURD soldiers, as did her driver a few days later, both have said that they neither saw, or heard any news of the other captives whereabouts or well being.

It is not clear why LURD has begun kidnapping civilians. What is clear however is that LURD, a warring faction that claims to be fighting for the rights of the Liberian populace, has become a serious threat to the human and civil rights of the people (both local and international) of Liberia. They must discontinue their aggressive activities which are further destroying what little stability the majority of Liberians have.

It must be noted here that, LURD forces, and those who took part in this attack and other assaults on civilians or aid workers, are in direct violation of International Humanitarian Law. **Under Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions [1] ratified by Liberia in 1988, which aims to protect victims of non-international armed conflict, taking of hostages (article 4.2.a), and stealing of food-stuffs (article 14) are strictly prohibited. Additionally, medical units, medical personnel and innocent civilians not taking a direct part in hostilities, should under no conditions be the object of attack (articles 11.1, 13.2, and 13.3). Consequently, each soldier in breach of any of these legal instruments can be persecuted and convicted for their offences on the basis of individual penal responsibility. Clearly, international humanitarian law will be upheld in all circumstances and doubters should pay close attention to the fate of members of rebel and government forces who have been indicted through the war crimes tribunal in neighboring Sierra Leone.

IMANI HOUSE, Inc., and Concerned Citizens, have prepared this Action Statement to ask that the situation in Liberia be given your URGENT ATTENTION. We are calling on the Liberian Government,the U.S. Embassy and other Embassies in Liberia, The U.S. State Department,the United Nations Security Council, those who have diplomatic or business ties with Liberia, and individuals and organizations who care about human rights and the dignity of life, to speak out against the actions of this Undeclared War On
Our Citizens

Specifically, we are calling on the aforementioned institutions to demand:

That LURD discontinue attacks and abductions of innocent civilians

That those abducted be safely released immediately

That media in all developed countries begin to publicize these atrocities

That the United Nations intervene in Peace Keeping efforts and hold the Government of Liberia and LURD accountable for their abuses of international humanitarian law regarding the treatment of civilians and other non-combatants


That LURD and the Liberian Government come to the negotiation table and cease all hostilities in the country

That President Charles Taylor restore civil liberties to Liberia, follow the Liberian Constitution, and allow all Liberian nationals, who desire, the right to run for public office including the Presidency

That free and fair elections be held as scheduled in Liberia, in October of 2003.

We are also asking those who care about the dignity, future, and the rights of all people to pursue peaceful fulfilling lives, to write to their local and national political representatives, sign our petition, and create an awareness campaign among your community and friends, regarding the tragic situation in Liberia.

*IMANI HOUSE, Inc. was founded in 1986 in Liberia West Africa. We support programs in Liberia and Brooklyn New York that offer low-income people the skills needed to determine their destinies and live fulfilling lives. The IMANI HOUSE clinic in Liberia opened in 1994, and has served tens of thousand of displaced Liberians as well as the local population. Other programs in Liberia include an adult literacy program for women, sewing classes, and an agricultural demonstration farm. In 1990 IMANI HOUSE was in the forefront of relief and redevelopment efforts, offering training in construction, well and latrine installation, adult literacy, soybean growth and utilization programs, supporting abandoned childrens shelters as well as health care and education. When Liberians faced famine because of the war, we shipped containers of essential relief materials. IMANI HOUSE New York also manages a number of human development programs. Please visit our website for further information at WWW.IMANIHOUSE.ORG.

**References: Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), 8 June 1977

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook sign_with_twitter
OR

If you already have an account please sign in, otherwise register an account for free then sign the petition filling the fields below.
Email and the password will be your account data, you will be able to sign other petitions after logging in.

Privacy in the search engines? You can use a nickname:

Attention, the email address you supply must be valid in order to validate the signature, otherwise it will be deleted.

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Shoutbox

Who signed this petition saw these petitions too:

Sign The Petition

Sign with Facebook sign_with_twitter
OR

If you already have an account please sign in

Comment

I confirm registration and I agree to Usage and Limitations of Services

I confirm that I have read the Privacy Policy

I agree to the Personal Data Processing

Goal
350 / 1000

Latest Signatures

  • 05 January 2016350. Amina S
    I support this petition
  • 11 December 2015349. Jennifer F
    I support this petition
  • 28 November 2015348. Joanna Santab
    I support this petition
  • 25 November 2015347. William G
    I support this petition
  • 24 November 2015346. Raquel M
    I support this petition
  • 23 November 2015345. Tonya P
    I support this petition
  • 19 November 2015344. Ben W
    I support this petition
  • 08 October 2015343. Vivian N
    I support this petition
  • 02 October 2015342. Shikha S
    I support this petition
  • 25 September 2015341. Jude O
    I support this petition
  • 18 September 2015340. Ann H
    I support this petition
  • 12 September 2015339. Kali N
    I support this petition
  • 07 September 2015338. Jacqueline S
    I support this petition
  • 05 September 2015337. Amisha R
    I support this petition
  • 15 August 2015336. Taji R
    I support this petition
  • 07 August 2015335. Moody Tl
    I support this petition
  • 14 July 2015334. Ettice W
    I support this petition
  • 08 July 2015333. Karina P
    I support this petition
  • 17 June 2015332. Tracy T
    I support this petition
  • 14 June 2015331. Keith H
    I support this petition
  • 31 May 2015330. Maria Mp
    I support this petition
  • 27 April 2015329. Donald H
    I support this petition
  • 15 April 2015328. Bhanu Gomez
    I support this petition
  • 06 April 2015327. Payin M
    I support this petition
  • 05 March 2015326. Sarah T
    I support this petition
  • 13 February 2015325. Mack Mj
    I support this petition
  • 09 February 2015324. Muhsinah L
    I support this petition

browse all the signatures

Information

Allyson FloydBy:
MusicIn:
Petition target:
United Nations Security Council

Tags

No tags

Share

Invite friends from your address book

Embed Codes

direct link

link for html

link for forum without title

link for forum with title

Widgets