ULAA issues Statement on the State of Emergency and Hostilities in Liberia

The Perspective

February 19, 2002

Liberians in the Americas are once more in frenzy because of the recent declaration of the state of emergency by President Charles Taylor on Friday, February 8, 2002, which action followed reports of fighting between government forces and dissidents at the Klay Junction. Thousands of displaced people had gathered in Klay following recent fighting in northwestern Liberia. Government forces reportedly tried to block them from entering Monrovia. Dissidents have been waging an insurrection in Northern Liberia

since 1999 and identified themselves as Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). In this most recent fighting terrified civilians fled Klay and President Taylor declared a state of emergency.

The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) expresses grave concern about the current state of affairs in our beloved homeland. The Union has long been a vocal opponent of the continued violence and displacement of our people. For many years now, the Union advocated that the Taylor

Government embarks on a reform agenda aimed at democratic governance, respect for rule of law, providing basic social services, and securing peace and security, among other. The Union warned that unless these needed reforms were instituted there was the likelihood of sporadic unrest and seething rage

by those opposed to the Taylor Government.

ULAA has continued to evaluate and monitor the spread of violence and hostilities in the country. At the same time, lack of adherence to international norms led the international community to impose selective

sanctions on the Taylor Government to curb arms trafficking and diamond smuggling via Liberia to and from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels in Sierra Leone. Despite appeals and warnings, President Taylor simply offered homilies rather than addressing the deteriorating social, economic

and political problems in the country. Poverty and the collapse of the basic institutions continued unabated. The Liberian civil war left a legacy of violence, lawlessness and instability, which the current regime has not addressed. Our country is now teetering on the brink of disaster.

The Union of Liberian Associations recognizes that the new surge of violence imposes additional burden on the Liberian people already feeling the pinch from the already shrinking sources of economic livelihood. The Union calls on both the Taylor Government and the rebel forces to cease the violence and

hostilities. We appeal to all groups involved in the insurrection to lay down their arms and engage in a national dialogue to prevent a blood bath in our country. ULAA supports the call for the Abuja Conference and appeals to ECOWAS and the international community to speed up support for a negotiated political settlement to the current conflict.

The Union pledges to closely monitor the situation and stand ready to contact all players towards building bridges through negotiations rather than violence. Dialogue is necessary between the Taylor Government, rebel forces, opposition parties, and civil society in order to foster genuine reconciliation, and lasting peace and security. It is our hope that President Taylor will seriously consider efforts to prevent or halt the carnage in our country. We call on all Liberians here and at home to stand firm and embark

upon national actions aimed at moving our country forward rather than prolonging the suffering and destruction of our people.


Issued this 10th day of February, 2002 in the City of Baltimore, Maryland

Mydea Reeves-Karpeh (Mrs.)

National President

Union Of Liberian Associations In The Americas (ULAA)

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