Following the successful completion of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, the peacekeeping mandate in the West African country will come to an end on March 30th, 2018 in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2333 of 2016.
The exercise is the last of the UN Missions in West Africa and is seen by analysts as an amazing story of a huge leap from war to peace having:
- Delivered peace in a country that had undergone a violent civil war in which a quarter of a million people were killed, more than a million people displaced, and countless women and girls suffered from sexual violence.
- achieved the disarming of more than 100,000 ex-combatants, and former combatants were successfully reintegrated back into civilian life
- Women were widely empowered, registered to vote in large numbers, some ran for political office and others joined the country’s security institutions.
- Children were able to leave the battlefield and go to school. Said Nick Birnback, the Spokesperson for UN Peacekeeping: A generation ago, the people of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire were engulfed in a war that killed a quarter of a million people, and displaced over a million people. Today, following determined action by the international community, these three countries in the Mano River Region are at peace and reaping the dividends of peacekeeping.
The Mano River region’s dramatic leap from war to peace is among the most powerful and untold stories of our time. Peacekeepers from the region and indeed the entire world enabled the reestablishment of civil society and the rebuilding of democratic institutions. The wheels of commerce are beginning to turn again and Liberians now have a fighting chance for peace.
A generation ago, the vast majority of Liberians–other than combatants–faced prolonged unemployment, with little hope of change. Now enterprise and jobs are returning. 100,000 ex-combatants have been disarmed and integrated into civilian life. A generation ago, women couldn’t walk safely on the street. Now they run for office, drive businesses, lead their communities.
A place of despair is now a place of opportunity, of pride and of hope. The world invested in peacekeeping and that investment has paid off. The region is stable, secure and at peace with itself and its neighbours.
Broadly the UNMIL achieved the following:
- UNMIL has been one of the most successful missions in the history of UN peacekeeping.
- Throughout its mandate, UNMIL enjoyed popular support from the local populations and the governing authorities.
- UNMIL delivered peace in a country that had undergone a violent civil war in which a quarter of a million people were killed, more than a million people displaced, and countless women and girls suffered from sexual violence.
- UNMIL disarmed more than 100,000 ex-combatants.
- Former combatants were successfully reintegrated back into civilian life
- The security and stability the mission provided enabled hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes.
- Schools, some of which were closed for a decade, reopened.
- Children were able to leave the battlefield and go to school.
- State authority was established throughout the country.
- The country’s ’justice and security institutions – police, courts, corrections – were rebuilt.
- There were no armed threats to the peace and stability in the country.
- Liberia’s borders became secure.
- The security environment allowed three presidential elections to be held.
- UNMIL worked to empower women throughout the country.
- Women registered to vote in large numbers, some ran for political office and others joined the country’s security institutions.
- UNMIL’s quick impact projects helped repair infrastructure and build the economy.
UNMIL and the entire UN system helped Liberia overcome the Ebola outbreak.