Women of Liberia want to see more humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping forces in the country to stop looting and killings. Women should also be involved in more concrete actions such as the disarmament process, according to a press release from the Mano River Women's Peace Network (MARWOPNET). A delegation of eight women from the Liberia Chapter of MARWOPNET participated for the last two months in the Liberia peace talks held in Akosombo, Ghana.
Geneva, 28 August 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARWOPNET signs on Liberia peace agreement in Akosombo
A delegation of eight women from the Liberia Chapter of the Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) led by Mrs. Ruth Sando Perry, former Liberian Head of State, and Mrs. Theresa Leigh-Sherman, Vice-President of MARWOPNET, has been participating for the last two months in the Liberia peace talks held in Akosombo, Ghana.
At the peak of the crisis in Liberia, MARWOPNET launched a number of peace advocacy activities such as organizing peace tours in the region, demonstrating with other women’s groups, releasing several statements and sending appeals to the media, the UN Security Council, the African Union and the international community in order to alert the world of the alarming situation in Liberia, call for the end of violence perpetrated against the civilians and request a peacekeeping intervention.
The delegation was also determined to make Liberian women’s voices heard during the Liberia peace talks. MARWOPNET was the only women's group that received accreditation to the conference as their members were invited by ECOWAS. The peace agreement was signed on Monday 18 August by the Government of Liberia, Liberians United for Democracy (LURD), Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and all the 18 political parties.
Because of the critical mediation role MARWOPNET played between the various factions involved in the peace talks, the network was one of the signatories as witness to the agreement. During the two months of their stay in Ghana, the delegation lobbied in the negotiations to put forward their peace agenda as included in the Abuja Plan of Action adopted in May 2000 by the women of the Mano River countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea).
“Now back to Liberia, the delegation intends to lobby for the election in leadership positions of competent men and women who are deeply concerned about the future of the people of Liberia and who could implement women’s peace agenda. The delegation is as well planning to convene a meeting to mobilize more women for peace advocacy” Mrs. Ruth Sando Perry stated.
She continued explaining that women of Liberia want to see more humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping forces all over the country to stop the looting and killings. She then added “We, women, should even get into more concrete actions, and be part of the disarmament process itself”.
Femmes Africa Solidarité (FAS) supported the delegation’s mission in the framework of its programme aimed at engendering the peace process in West Africa. FAS has been supporting the training of MARWOPNET members on conflict transformation, conflict resolution, peace building and techniques of negotiation to build their capacity as peace advocates. FAS programme in West Africa has been supported by Ford Foundation, the Government of Finland, the Government of Norway, UNDP, UNHCR, UNESCO, CORDAID and OSIWA.
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