Liberia: Scores of Liberian women on Thursday, 17 August 2023, signed a Peace manifesto ahead of the October 10, 2023 presidential and Legislative elections .
The signing ceremony took place at the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Ministerial Complex in Congo Town.
The Thursday’s peace signing ceremony was organized the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa in collaboration with former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development including MADRE and the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).
This followed after a week long peace dialogue with female politicians and business women. The week-long meeting which brought together several prominent Liberian women including women aspiring for representative and Senatorial posts and international partners, provided the means for reflection to strategize pathways in ensuring peaceful elections in 2023.
The manifesto seeks to prevent the recurrence of violence and its devastating consequences.
Signing the peace manifesto, the women jointly called on Liberians to avoid any act that has the propensity to cause conflict and disrupt the hard earned peace of the country.
They encouraged Liberians to be peaceful as they go to the polls in October to elect their leaders.
“We, the women of Liberia, have come together in Monrovia under the leadership of Nobel Peace Laureates President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Roberta Gbowee, to appeal to all Liberians that what binds us together is greater than what divides us. We must unite as we did twenty years ago to make war and violence implausible.
We call on all citizens and participants in the political process to shun violence in all shapes and forms,and respect the dignity and life of every person within the borders of our land, the women added”.
Reading the Manifesto, the Head of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Madam Leymah Gbowee disclosed that the women of Liberia have also committed themselves to working for non-violent engagement as the only means to resolve conflict arising during and after the country’s elections.
She maintained, “We also commit to ensuring that the human rights of every person participating in elections will be respected and upheld. And we declare all women and people differently abled have the right to run for political office and to as well participate in all aspects of the political process, without harm or threat of violence.”
The GPFA Founder and president further called the NEC and political parties to also abide by the UN Economic and Social Council Resolution 1990/15 which calls for 30% women in all leadership processes. “And we the women of Liberia also expect political parties to abide by and promote amongst their partisans the edicts of the Farmington Declaration and the Violence Against Women in Elections and Politics (VAWIE/P) Protocol.”
Meanwhile, the women, in the manifesto, called for the timely and robust prosecution of perpetrators of violence against women in politics and elections, ensuring women’s speedy access to justice. “We are resolved to use our voices to amplify and disseminate the messages of peace via the media, social media, and all in all public spaces including schools and places of worship across Liberia. We must remember our past and work with all our might and take ownership and accountability to sustain the peace, as our children and the future of Liberia lie in our hands.
However, in remarks US Embassy Political Officer Juan Martinez rallied Liberians to retain the peace during these elections. “We from the U.S Embassy in Monrovia including all Liberians cannot afford to repeat those mistakes and jeopardize the progress have been made as a nation since the country’s 14 years of civil conflict,” Mr. Martinez noted.
The U.S Embassy political officer further, “So, our plea is to all Liberians, especially to those aspiring for leadership positions, to prioritize peace and stability above all else.”
He then urged all Liberians including political parties and independent candidates to use the electoral process to demonstrate their commitment to democracy and the well-being of every citizens, and at the same time pledged the U.S government fullest support towards a free, fair and transparent and peaceful elections in October.
As the nation braces itself for the upcoming elections, the Liberian Women’s Manifesto for Peace serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to safeguard the dreams and aspirations of the Liberian people.
The peace manifesto signing by the women of Liberia came after several reported acts of violence by supporters of political parties in the ongoing political campaign activities across the the country.
Critics are of belief that alleged acts by supporters of political parties is a violation of the farmington peace declaration.
The farmington peace declaration was signed by political parties on Tursday, 4 April 2023 to promote peace doing and after election. It forbids political parties and supporters from engaging in any act of violence.