Minnesota Declaration: “A Call for Justice for victims of Liberia’s civil war”

By IndepthAfrica
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Jun 20th, 2013
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Minnesota Declaration: “A Call for Justice for victims of Liberia’s civil war”
On April 20-21, 2013, Liberians under the auspices of the Coalition for Justice in Liberia (CJL) comprised of Liberian human rights advocates in collaboration with international human rights organizations, assembled at the historic Continental Hall in the city of Brooklyn Center at which time attendees evaluated the state of human rights and justice for victims of Liberia’s 14-year civil war. Following two days of intense deliberations, the conference participants observed the followings:

a. That the state of human rights is being weakened and remains a challenge amidst growing concerns that Liberia’s policymakers have not taken adequate steps to address the neglected issue of justice for the victims of Liberia’s 14-year civil war living both at home and abroad.

b. That the lack of confidence in the justice system of this postwar country has rendered it weak and inefficient to handle the tasks of bringing about transparent justice to Liberians victimized by the civil conflicts.

Therefore, participants at the conference unanimously affirmed that in order for genuine peace, reconciliation and national healing to take place, it is extremely fundamental that the issue of justice for hundreds of thousands of Liberia’s war victims be addressed.

In light of the foregoing, the conference-participants declared their commitment to continue their advocacy for justice for Liberian war victims, and thus resolved to take the following actions:

1. To intensify human rights awareness campaign on the issue of justice for victims and survivors of Liberia’s 14-year brutal civil war;
2. To identify, and bring to public view, Liberia’s war criminals who may be hiding in the United States, Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world;
3. To expand its outreach efforts in the cities of Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Providence, Staten Island, and other parts of the United States where Liberians impacted by the war lived;
4. To assist war victims who still suffer Post-traumatic symptoms and other mental conditions with support services to help with their healing;
5. To empower war victims to pursue legal actions against war perpetrators, including seeking compensation for abuses, tortures, and deaths of relatives by war criminals during the Liberian civil war;
6. To conduct periodic trainings with the sole purpose to empower war victims as well as help them acquire knowledge and skills they need in order to engage in self-advocacy activities;
7. To mobilize Liberians and non-Liberians of conscience in a mass campaign dedicated to working for justice on behalf of victims of the Liberian civil war;
8. To pursue collaborative efforts with Liberian and non-Liberian justice groups at home and in the Diaspora and working together on programs to improve the conditions of Liberian war victims;
9. To bring attention to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report which provides a roadmap while at the same time builds genuine peace and reconciliation in Liberia.
Towards this end, the conference reaffirmed its commitment to bring an end to the entrenched culture of impunity which continues to threaten the foundations of peace in Liberia.
Issued this—21st———- day of—April———- 2013 in the City of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Signed:

Lovetta G. Tugbeh,

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