Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big Symposium on Liberian TRC Report Begins Friday in New York

Symposium on the Liberian TRC Process Reform, Redress, and Recovery

Presented by

African Refuge, Inc. International Trauma Studies Program, The New School University, The Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University and several other civil society organizations

Several Liberian led civil society organizations
Date: October 29-30

Wollman Auditorium, New School University, Manhattan, New York
Staten Island

New York-- The West African nation of Liberia is recovering from 14 years of civil conflict. In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) released a Final Report with a broad array of recommendations related to institutional reform, national recovery, and redress for victims of human rights and humanitarian violations. The TRC Report also contains recommendations related to prosecutions and amnesty for certain alleged perpetrators. More than a year later, no action has been taken to implement the TRC’s recommendations.

On October 29-30 African Refuge, Inc. (AR), in collaboration with the New School University, the International Trauma Studies Program, The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and several civil society organizations, will host a two-day symposium to reinvigorate the interests of both the international community and Liberians at large in the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Report.

Leading scholars, practitioners, and other experts will engage in discussion sessions grouped into three (3) tracks focused on the themes of Reform, Redress, and Reconciliation: The Pathway to Sustainable Peace, Security, and Development in Liberia.

The two-day symposium will seek to address a multitude of pressing questions concerning the Liberian TRC, including: Why has the international and national response to the TRC Report and the implementation of the TRC recommendations been lukewarm and indifferent? What reception has the TRC Report received and what are its major strengths and weaknesses? The Chairman of the TRC Commission, Hon. Jerome Verdier, will give the keynote address.

The symposium will climax on Staten Island with a civic participation and social entrepreneurship workshop. The goal is to empower participants with the skills to effectively promote peace, democracy, and human rights at the grassroots level. Leading practitioners will present effective civic action strategies and ideal practices in grassroots fundraising.

The workshop will conclude with an indigenous Liberian art exhibit by the award-winning Liberian Peace Crusaders, a dinner reception, a silent auction, and a live cultural performance by the Liberian Peace Crusaders. Headed by the Liberian Cultural Ambassador Julie Endee, the Liberian Peace Crusaders is the premier performance and advocacy group in Liberia. The event will be held at St. Peter’s Church auditorium, located at 53 St. Mark’s Place, New Brighton, and Staten Island.

Fee for the Staten Island event is $75.00. Those interested can purchase tickets online or at the door. Cash and credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express) are both accepted.

For more information about AR and the symposium, please visit us at, or

contact Ms. Jonatta Moore at / (718) 701-4055.

News Headline

Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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