SOLLIMS Sampler Special Edition, May 2017 - Page 13

b. TOPIC. Lessons from Liberia in Security Sector Reform (Lesson #703) Observation. Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegra- tion (DDR) actions launched in Liberia at its “golden hour” (mid-2003 to 2005) were absolutely critical for post-conflict recovery and for establishing a viable foundation for further stabilization work. Although every peacebuilding context presents its own set of unique and complex challenges, certain key areas of action addressed within the Liberian security sector may also be applicable to wider peacebuilding efforts, particularly for nations recovering from an abrupt end to a civil war. Key areas of action successfully implemented in Liberia revolved around consolidating the state's monopoly of force, maintaining the momentum of peacebuilding, integrating SSR with DDR, operationalizing human security, and mobilizing networks for peace. Discussion. Upon the conclusion of its 14-year civil war, in August 2003, Liberia faced an incredibly difficult situation with regard to post-conflict peacebuilding. From a pre-war population of three million, more than 250,000 people had been killed, and another one million people were displaced or missing. Pillaging, looting, abductions, torture, rape, and other human rights abuses had occurred on a massive scale throughout the conflict period. Most Liberians had lived in constant fear of the military and police forces, not to mention the numerous warring factions. Liberia's infrastructure had been totally destroyed, with no functioning electrical grids, no public running water, no sewage, and no other public utilities. Throughout the capital of Monrovia, hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) lived in slums consisting of tin shacks and garbage. After 14 years of violence, chaos, and fear, a pause for peace came about when President Taylor accepted an offer of asylum from Nigeria. Seeing a “golden hour” for peacebuilding upon the exile of President Taylor, the United Nations, the United States, and certain key leaders/practitioners (including the authors of the Stanley Foundation article cited in “Event Description” below) immediately focused their engagement on Security Sector Reform (SSR). An initial priority was to consolidate the state's monopoly of force to uphold the rule of law. Probably the most critical action taken in this regard was the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (DDRR) program, which was implemented by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in a quick, if not hasty, manner on 7 December 2003. Launching the DDRR program quickly, and involving many of the ex-combatants in transitional labor, kept these ex-combatants focused on material gains and employment – rather than on renewing violence. Simple monetary compensation for the Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 12 of 36