The Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) collaborating with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have bade farewell to its training of trainers as well as the conflict resolution and mediation teams as they take on the country to assist government keep the peace.
Addressing the closing ceremony at a dinner held in honor of the participants and trainers, the Minister of Justice, Christiana Tah, said it is very important and necessary to encourage and see civil society organizations get involved in programs that buttress government’s effort especially in sustaining peace in the country.
Minister Tah said government alone is unable to do everything that the citizens crave for and that social environment can play meaningful roles in the life of the society adding that the legal system is there to curtail peace and help shape the society but in the midst of chaos, lots of people are hurt and nobody is there to address those issues.
She explained how following the civil crises in Liberia, the expectations of people were high and that they desired that everything was done in a hurry noting, “You have your own problems and with the leftover of others’ problems, it is difficult to succeed so it needs the collaborative effort of all.”
Minister Tah said everyone is not yet healed and it takes the contribution of each person as well as the partners to work together to restore and sustain the peace noting, “The history you need to remember is the bad past which should always guide you so that you do not do anything that would lead you in that direction again.”
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Una Thompson, said Liberia needs people who will be specialized in mitigating and resolving conflicts because the country is at a critical juncture where peace is needed to harness reconciliation.
She said currently, in the stock reality, Liberia needs reconciliation, rehabilitation, peace and transformation and the citizenry could choose to ignore to the detriment of the entire nation adding, “Genuine peace is an imagination if we do not pay heed to reconciliation.”
“Liberia’s valued peace can be sustained if the young people can stand up for that peace, resolve conflict, teach peace, walk peace and that is what the Angic Brooks Centre is about. The United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General, Karin Landgren lauded ABIC for being helpful in the work at the level of the UN.
Madam Langren said Liberia needs many people to work in the area of conflict prevention because the long years of war has taken a toll on children, women, men as well as confidence and trust describing Liberia as a ‘happy land.’
She said participants trained to go out will join many others who have enjoyed the ten years of peace in Liberia promising that this peace will remain by using their skills.
One of the trainers, Roseline Toweh, encouraged the trainees to be focused as they go out because there are issues deriving especially from land and there is no reason for people to die for simple matters such as land.
She said there is no need for boys to inflict wounds on girls and women in the name of sexual assault and there is no need for young girls to engage in prostitution in the name of poverty. Mrs. Toweh urged the trainees to take up the mantle by going out and resolving issues and to abide by the early warning signs in sustaining peace in the country.
The Conflict Resolution Program Manager at ABIC, Michael Gebeh, said the training was relevant because of the tension and unnecessary threats that have the propensity of plunging the country back into serious conflict.
In his welcome address which comprised of a brief history about how Angie Brooks Center came into being, Mr. Gebeh said with its partners the Center has successfully implemented trainings in protection of civilians in peacekeeping operations, transitional justice and peace-building.
He said the trainees comprised of individuals from civil society organizations, community based groups and agencies of government, as well as students and youths from Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Bong and Grand Cape Mount Counties.