Du - Port Road Community Memorial UnveiledMar 9, 2017
As part of events marking Decoration Day in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf unveiled the Du-Port Road Community Memorial Monument in Paynesville, Monrovia.
Referring to it as a “first” in implementing the TRC recommendations and Liberia’s Roadmap for National Healing, the President called for similar symbolic acts in the over 155 burial sites strewn across the country to bring about the much-needed national healing.
Commending the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) under whose auspices this project was designed and executed, she urged the Commission to take this forward as Liberian people suffered and need healing.
The President also acknowledged the role of UNDP, which executed the project through support from the Peace Building Fund, thanking the organization for “always being there” for Liberia in its pursuit of peace and sustainable development.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for UNMIL, Farid Zarif, in a solemn and reflective tone, referred to the Monument as a sad reminder of Liberia’s past and the tens of thousands who lost their lives in a war “that could have been prevented”. Referring to the coincidence with the Memorial Day, the SRSG observed that “others carry deep wounds and continue to live with bitter memories”.
He thus expressed the hope that the unveiling of the Memorial would help close the “dark chapter” and for Liberia to come out of the wounds of war and build a future of peace.He referred to the memorial project as a low-cost investment with a huge phenomenal impact.
Paying tribute to the President for championing peace and reconciliation, the SRSG urged Liberian communities, families and individuals not to be haunted by the memories of the war, but do what they can to ensure Liberia remains at peace with itself.
Other speakers at the occasion were the Mayor of Paynesville Mdm C. Cyvette M. Gibson, the Minister for Internal Affairs Prof. Henrique Tokpa, a Du-Port Community Leader and INCHR Acting Chairperson, Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley.
Also gracing the occasion were the Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Boimah Kamara and Marjon Kamara, as well as the DSRSG/Peace and Consolidation Services Mr. Yacoub El Hillo and the ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, H.E. Mr. Babatunde O. Ajisomo, among others.
The initiative stems from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), established as per the Accra Compression Peace Accord which recommended that, as part of the healing process of the country, a memorial in honor of those who were massacred be constructed in all the capital cities of the different counties around the country.
The cost of the Du-Port Road Memorial project is USD $59, 000 provided by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and managed by UNDP under the Community-based Truth Telling, Atonement and Psychosocial Recovery Project (Palava Hut Project).
Duport Road is a community that suffered the brunt of the Liberian conflict. In 1990, many people perceived to have belonged to a particular ethnic group were tortured and summarily executed.
Most of the killings were said to have been carried out at the end of Duport Road known as the "Waterside". Four years later, the community was attacked again and more than 1000 people were said to have been killed.
The residents have for a long time desired to erect a monument in memory of community members killed during the civil crisis. The Memorial honors the memories of many who lost their lives in tragic circumstances.
Hence, their memories feed into new shared narratives of Liberia’s history and will go a long way in healing the individual as well as collective wounds thus fostering national unity and peaceful coexistence.Contact
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