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Liberia's Fragile Peace

Media Contact

For all media inquires please contact: Tom Price, Senior Manager & Deputy, Strategic Communications

Background

A new Catholic Relief Services (CRS) study, which surveyed more than 1,500 Liberians across the country, takes the pulse of the nation and discovers how Liberians perceive the state of peace, reconciliation, and conflict in the country since the end of the civil war. Liberia is now relatively peaceful, but the war that ended in 2003 has left it as a fragile and volatile state, according to key findings.

The “State of Peace, Reconciliation and Conflict in Liberia” provides data, analysis and recommendations for actions that foster genuine and sustainable peace.

Download the Report

Download the report brief (24 pages) or the full report (206 pages). Our news release gives a quick overview of the study.

Key Findings

  • Fragile peace: Respondents were evenly split on whether Liberia is at risk of descending into large-scale violent conflict (50.6% for “high to very high risk” and 43.7% for “no to low risk”). Optimistic respondents and interviewees pinned their hopes on conflict fatigue and disillusionment with the uneven outcomes of the war.
  • Reconciliation: More than 80% of respondents felt that that people who suffered grave injury during the war did not receive justice through the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Half of respondents (49.7%) believed that post-war reconciliation failed to achieve its objectives.
  • Key actors and flashpoints: Political leaders (71.8%) and unemployed youth (58.2%) topped the list of potential actors that can instigate violence. Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Montserrado were cited as the main flashpoint counties, due to both historical and current factors. Inhabitants of Rivercess (79.3%), Nimba (74.9%); Grand Kru (74.4%); and Grand Cape Mount (74.2%) assessed the risk as highest, while respondents in River Gee were the most optimistic.

Key Recommendations

  • Encourage free and fair general elections in 2017 by organizing and administering a nation-wide election observation mission; by carrying out parallel vote tabulation at district and national level; by developing and administering nation-wide civic and voter education campaigns; and by organizing political exchanges between communities and politicians.
  • Foster meaningful and profound reconciliation across Liberia by creating safe spaces where healing and reconciliation can take place; by supporting multiple avenues to healing and reconciliation; by creating opportunities to identify and employ suitable indigenous reconciliation mechanisms, and by women-focused support and programming. 

Experts Available for Interviews 

To arrange for an interview with our experts, contact Tom Price.

  • Jennifer Overton, CRS Regional Director for West Africa
  • Pilate Johnson, Acting Director for the ‎Catholic Justice and Peace Commission in Liberia

Quotes from Survey Participants

 

CRS' History in Liberia

CRS activities in Liberia began in 1990, initially providing emergency assistance after the start of the civil war. During the civil war, CRS provided food aid and other relief, and was one of the few NGOs that stayed in the country for most of the war. Many Liberians still know and respect CRS for their projects during the war.

CRS assistance shifted to agriculture/food security, HIV/AIDS and justice and peace programs support after the end of the civil war in 2004. The CRS Liberia Country Program shifted to a smaller program in 2013 and scaled back during the Ebola virus outbreak to support faith-based health facilities and strengthen other local institutions. In partnership with the Catholic Church and other local organizations, today’s programming focuses on improving the quality of life for poor and vulnerable Liberians. Read more about CRS' work and history in Liberia.

Cover photo by NMEER/Martine Perret, Creative Commons