Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Liberia’s partners to continue support to the West African country, which, six years after the end of conflict, remains fragile but has the potential to be a beacon on stability in the region.
“Once the epicentre of conflict, Liberia now has the potential to become a pillar of peace and stability in a troubled region,” Mr. Ban said in his latest report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
“At the same time, the complex nature and magnitude of the challenges inherited from the civil war and the dysfunctional pre-war State continue to pose serious difficulties for building essential national institutions, particularly in the security and rule-of-law sectors, requiring a sustained, long-term effort.
“Although it has been six years since the war ended, Liberia is still a fragile State,” he said. “I therefore call on all international partners to stay the course in Liberia, to help further consolidate the fragile peace and establish conditions for lasting stability.”
He said he was “deeply concerned” at the challenges facing efforts to develop a professional national police force, and asked for international partners to help in developing the strategic plan for such a force. He coupled the strengthening of the police force with the development of “functioning judicial and corrections systems.”
“The government and its partners should therefore invest more resources in reforming and developing the justice system, expanding its accessibility the population and ridding it of corruption and archaic and discriminatory, laws,” he said.
In addition, he proposed that the Council authorize the continuation of UNMIL’s troop strength of nearly 8,000 until after the 2011 elections and that the Mission continue to “include the conduct of free and fair elections on the list of core benchmarks” for an eventual drawdown.
“Security conditions permitting, the UNMIL drawdown would resume at an accelerated pace during the post-election period,” he said.