The Liberia program is currently supporting post-Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) transitional justice initiatives implemented by the Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG) – a coalition of civil society groups. Among others, the project is implementing memorialization initiatives in Kpolokpala and Samay communities in Bong County. This initiative could serve as a catalyst for broader memorialization projects in other parts of the country. This will help communities to collectively remember massacre victims during the Liberian civil crisis. OSIWA is supporting the training of 60 lawyers for a period of three years by paying tuition costs at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of law, University of Liberia. As agreed at the start, the bonded students, upon graduation would work within the Judiciary or Ministry of Justice for three years. These persons will help reduce the capacity vacuum that the legal and judicial sector is grappling with in post-conflict Liberia. Already, fourteen (14) of these students have graduated and have been absorbed by the Ministry of Justice. The Liberia program’s efforts to help curb the spate of violence against women in Liberia led the prosecution of two persons by lawyers hired by the Justice and Peace Commission and Aiding Disadvantaged Women and Girls (ADWANGA (ADWANGA). Both persons were sentenced to ten years imprisonment for various offences while three cases remain in the docket for this court term. We continue to engage the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) to ensure that the institution fulfils its mandate and scrupulously monitors the implementation of the TRC recommendations. These interventions are expected to help foster national reconciliation and promote civil society collaboration in peace building efforts.
In Liberia, the Foundation will support initiatives that will promote strong governance institutions, processes and structures; enhance the vigorous capacity of civil society organization and increase their participation in decision-making as well as the robust protection of fundamental rights and citizenship groups exposed to discrimination. To achieve the afore-mentioned, the Liberia program we will work with the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) to enhance their capacity to train and deploy domestic elections observers to objectively and effectively monitor the forthcoming elections and host a situation room that will respond the situations as and when they arise. Building on OSIWA’s support to the defunct TRC and the implementation of key recommendations, the Liberia program will support the strengthening of the capacity of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) by exposing them to international best practices on the African continent during peer learning/study missions with similar institutions and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).
The Foundation’s Liberia program will also support the recently revamped Freedom of Information coalition and other critical stakeholders to demand accountability at all levels of government including the passage of the Local Government Act that will enhance the participation of communities in the management of national resources. As Liberia starts a national visioning process directed by the Governance Commission and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, we will support dialogues on citizenship, ethnicity and identity issues as key components of national cohesion and national reconciliation.