Liberian women lay foundation for strength and progress
Jul 06, 2010
....Women who were directly affected by the civil war related injustices used the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) as their platform to demand, among other things, quality, justice, and freedom of speech.
....From the advent of the TRC, women decisively became involved in making sure the TRC included gender related issues. They knew that despite the fact women are the majority of human rights abuse victims in armed conflicts in Africa, women have been excluded from participating in peace negotiations and decision making on the way forward to secure and create a safe and prosperous environment where they can raise their children. Liberian women’s organizations made it clear that there could not be any real truth telling and real reconciliation if women were excluded from the TRC. As a result, the TRC collected written records of first-hand accounts retold by women.
On July 31, 2008 the TRC trained 42 women, from all political sub-divisions, to sensitize and encourage more women to testify at the TRC. As women were being trained, there were simultaneous workshops for men, whose female loved ones would be testifying, equipping them with tools to give proper support to the women. These dialogues were a major part to the project entitled, “Evaluating and Re-Enforcing Women’s Participation In Transitional Justice and Governance” in October 2008. More dialogues were planned throughout the year and once completed the women in these communities came together to mobilize and encourage other women to participate in creating and consolidating peace in Liberia. As the climax of the project neared, the National Conference for Women adopted recommendations about human rights violations and forwarded them to the TRC to be included within the final report. They recommended that:
- the warlords and defunct warring factions be sentenced to jail or hard labor,
- a war crimes tribunal for Liberia be created,
- warlords and people with criminal records be barred from public office, and
- child soldiers be given immunity from crimes committed.