The Liberian disabled community is pressing the Government of Liberia to pay them reparation following years of rebellions which left thousands of them dead and disabled.
The erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission or TRC’s final report on reparation states that: “The civil war left all Liberians with scares for life but there are thousands others who continue to carry physical disabilities including war-related particles in their bodies.”
It further says: “While individual reparation programs may be economically difficult, the state is obliged to address the continued physical wounds and provide for those disabled and made completely destitute by the war, in addition to community based direct and/or symbolic reparation. This component will seek to address both aims.”
The lead campaigner, Association of Disabled Females International (ADFI), in league with the war-survivors, is seeking reparation from the Liberian Government for all key war victims.
Madam Maima Hoff, ADFI’s Executive Director, also visually impaired (blind) for almost 21 years now due to the war civil, expressed the belief that being disabled did not mean the end of their lives.
She said they were bearing the scars of the conflict and not the children of those who brought the war to the country, stressing that they, therefore, needed reparation for sustenance.
“The war importers’ children are abroad schooling at the best institutions, while we are here suffering from what they brought upon us,” Maima tearfully stated.
She spoke when the community launched its campaign for reparation payment at the Center for the Exchange of Intellectual Opinions (CEIO) Tuesday in Monrovia. The ceremony brought together both local and international observers.
Maima, who does not know the physical appearance (look) of her own children since becoming blind, appealed for public partnership in their demand for reparation.
“It is not easy to be a disabled having been blind for almost 21 years now. The children I gave birth to, I do not know how they look like, including you sitting before me as I speak,” she dejectedly stated.
The Liberian civil war was characterized by massacres with at least 155 sites identified. Consultations in many communities show that many more sites were yet to be identified and recognized.
The aim of memoralization component is to create an enabling space to humanize and honor victims of the war and document national regrets and apology for the violation they suffered.
The community-based memoralization process will help communities develop and own a share, as well as reconcile narratives as the basis for community healings and recovery.