UN ends Peacekeeping Mission In Liberia after 15 years operation
Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (left) with members of the all-female Indian Formed Police Unit serving with the UN Mission in Liberia in February 2016. Photo:Emmanuel Tobey/UNMIL
London, March 22, 2018 (AltAfrika)-By the end of this month (March 2018) the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Liberia will no longer exist.
The mission, known as UNMIL, is closing shop after nearly 15 years in operation
In 2003, it was hard to imagine this day would ever come.
Around 250,000 people had been killed in a singularly brutal civil war. The infrastructure that existed in the country was decimated. Most Liberians who had the opportunity to leave country had fled.
Fifteen years later, thanks in large part to UNMIL, Liberia is a stable democracy with a rapidly developing economy. It was a hard slog, but Liberia has made incredible strides and is emerging as a beacon of political stability in a volatile region.
In 2006, Liberia it was the first country in Africa to elect a female head of State, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
After serving two terms she stepped down peacefully and ceded power to her political rival, George Weah, who won free and fair elections. This was no small feat. Throughout the region, leaders tend to cling to power beyond their constitutionally mandated limits. If they do cede power, it is typically to political allies.
Liberia bucked this trend. To be sure, Liberia is still a very poor country, but it now has the basic security and political stability needed to thrive as a democracy in Africa.
The folding of the UN Mission in Liberia is a good news story coming out of the UN. It demonstrates that UN Peacekeeping is a powerful tool the international community can deploy to help countries manage the fragile transition from conflict to peace.