Liberian Groups Call For Immediate Sanctions
February 14, 2001
In a letter to the Security council, three Liberian groups have called for the imposition of immediate sanctions against the government of Liberia. Below is full text of the letter.
The All Liberian Conference Of North America (ALC), The Union Of Liberian Associations In the Americas (ULAA) and the Movement For Democratic Change In Liberia (MDCL) would like to thank you and your colleagues for laboriously researching and presenting to President Charles Taylor with the evidence, for his continuous black market dealings in "gems-for-guns trade," and support for the murderous RUF. Because of Taylor's intransigence, coupled with his recalcitrant behavior towards the international community of civilized nations and, his lack of basic human decency, Africa's oldest democracy has become both a laughing stock and a "whipping boy" in the world. Therefore, we are left with no choice but to register full support for sanctions against the Government officials of Liberia and their family members. As the grave nature of this matter requires we request of this august body for our representatives to testify at these hearings.
We are inclusive organizations of Liberians worldwide and friends of Liberia of diverse scio-economic, political, and ethnic composition. We have headed a team representing Liberian organizations that participated in ECOWAS deliberation on Liberia in 1996, in Abuja, Nigeria. We also sent a team of observers to the 1997 Liberian election which ended up with Mr. Charles Taylor being elected President.
As former participants in the Liberian peace process, we embraced the results of the election as a sign of peace, democracy, reconciliation and above all, saw the relative peace as an avenue for regional stability so that our Western African brothers and sisters of ECOMOG can return to their families. Unfortunately, our hopes and expectations of putting our nation back on its feet remain on distant shores because of the behavior of the Taylor Government. We are convinced that the recent United Nation's Commission report on the Taylor Government's activities in the region does not point finger at the Liberian people but it clearly documents the involvement of our Government in profiting at the expense of the lives and properties of our brothers and sisters in the West African sub-region, particularly Sierra Leone. Not to mention such activities also put our nation's young men and women in harm's way.
We are aware anti-sanction forces may argue that any form of sanctions would hurt the Liberian people on all levels and may even accuse us of being out of touch with the reality on the grounds. We caution you that such ploys are being argued only by Taylor Government's so called West African friends and some Liberians who may be profiting directly or indirectly from the "blood money" and illicit activities. Mr. Taylor and his friends may attempt to impress you that money from the timber sale is used to build schools, hospitals, roads and restore some basic social services, this is far from the truth. In fact, the Nation's largest Hospital, the John F. Kennedy Hospital remains closed. The money is diverted to finance Mr. Taylor's war in Sierra Leone and Guinea. Therefore, sanctions are necessary because this is the quickest way to make our Government live within the norms and behavior of the international community and respect the African brotherhood.
Since Mr. Taylor's ascension to our nation's highest office, the violation of the human rights and civil liberties under the NPP led Government continues unabated. Non-adherence to the principles of constitutional democracy and the rule of law makes a sham and mockery of democracy in post-war Liberia. The pillage and plunder of our resources for personal gains as well as Liberia's new image as a pariah state cannot go unnoticed. The world has witnessed events after events of ethnic hatred, religious intolerance, repression of fundamental rights, abuse of power and authority as well as the continuous deterioration of the quality of life in Liberia. No effort is made by the Government to provide basic public services such as electricity, running water, health care, or means by which Liberians may produce their own food. There is no school or hospital funded by the Government of Liberia that is functional today in Liberia, and public schools are almost nonexistent. In other words, educational facilities are at the bare minimum and the security of the individual is non-existent. President Taylor has ignored all efforts at dialogue and continues to mismanage the resources of our Country.
In addition, being out of Liberia may be a blessing at this time because of the opportunity to be able to speak for our people who live under fear and intimidation. But, we are not in any way removed from the grounds because we are the are major contributors to what's left of the Liberian economy. Liberians across the world and particularly in the United States support their relatives and friends who are in Liberia and refugee camps to a tune of approximately $25,000,000.00 a month. This is what keeps our nation alive at this dreadful time. There are more than 200,000 Liberians residing in North America alone; more than 50% of them are American and Canadian educated---from accountants to zoologists. These technocrats can't and will not return to Liberia simply because of the ruthlessness of President Taylor and his imported death squads. If Taylor were doing what he was elected to do, why would former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who stood by him during and after the war, close down his office in Monrovia and leave? By the way, in his 6 November 2000, letter to Taylor, President Carter said that he was "...very disappointed about the course of events in Liberia over the last three years, especially given the hopeful opportunities that were present after [Taylor's] election in 1997...." President Carter concluded that apart from "...reports of serious human rights abuses...," and rampant corruption, he was troubled that " it [was] increasingly evident that Liberia's role in the conflicts of the sub-region has been a destructive one." Clearly, Ambassador, the closing down of The Carter Center in Monrovia, followed by such strong statements from the personality of President Jimmy Carter, is indicative that the "die is cast" in Liberia.
Our support then for the sanctions is not to punish the Liberian people but to bring to bear pressure on those involved directly or indirectly in the affairs of illicit trade and gun running which continue to rain havoc on the people of Sierra Leone, Guinea and the entire sub-region. By and through the actions and inaction of President Taylor and some members of his Government to halt the trafficking of diamonds, timber and weapons of destruction, and ignore advice to cut off all political, military and financial support to the Revolutionary United Front, our beloved Liberia has now become a pariah and rogue state in the international community of nation states. This failure of President Taylor to cease and desist from these acts compel us to declare our unwavering support for the international sanctions against President Taylor and the Liberian Government officials.
Meanwhile, ALC, ULAA, and MDCL and all member organizations appeal to the United States, Great Britain, the European Union and other international institutions to increase their financial and material support for our people at home and in the refugee and displaced camps in neighboring states through local and international non-governmental organizations. Continued assistance to the suffering people of Liberia, in light of existing and new sanctions and embargoes, is the right thing to do in order to lessen hardships, restore hope and halt the further erosion of ever-declining socio-economic conditions in Liberia.
In closing, we extend total support for our brothers and sisters in the sub-region and particularly the people of Sierra Leone and Guinea, as they fight to end the carnage and reunite their countries.
|James W. Kaye
National Chairman, ALC
| Mydea Karpeh-Reeves
| Arthur Watson