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GeneralLiberia news

INCHR and UNDP train locals on peace-building in Gbarpolu 

By Ethel A. Tweh

The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has rolled out a series of capacity-building training to enhance reconciliation and peace-building in Liberia. 

The training was specifically designed to empower individuals in the local communities to actively participate in the reconciliation and peace-building process.

The training was aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations.

According to INCHR’s Transitional Justice Officer, Mr. Joseph Blamiyon, the training started recently in Bopolu City and focused on three key groups: awareness givers, statement takers, and Palava Hut hearing committee members.

He said each group played a vital role in fostering understanding, recording testimonies, and facilitating dialogue within the community. “By enhancing the capacities of these individuals, the local communities will become more self-reliant in driving the reconciliation process utilizing the palava hut mechanism,” he said.

The first training that lasted from June 26-27, 2023 was conducted for Palava Hut hearing committee members. 

These nine individuals, three females, and four males, were appointed by their respective communities to serve on committees that would facilitate dialogue and reconciliation within the traditional palace system.

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The training focused on conflict resolution, mediation techniques, and the principles of restorative justice. 

The committee members were encouraged to foster an inclusive and participatory process, ensuring that all voices be heard and respected.

They were also taught how to effectively manage disagreements and guide discussions toward peaceful resolutions.

The second training segment involving six participants was focused on statement takers from Wednesday, June 28, 2023, to Friday, June 30, 2023. 

According to Blamiyon, these individuals are responsible for collecting and documenting testimonies from community members who had been affected by past conflicts.

“They were also taught effective note-taking and documentation methods to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the testimonies,” Mr. Blamiyon explained.

“We were trained to record testimonies, allowing survivors to share their stories,” said Leone Momo, one of the statement takers. 

“This will help the Palava hut hearing committee members to facilitate productive discussions, leading to peaceful resolutions and healing within the community.”

As for the awareness givers, these nine individuals were selected from various sectors of the community, including religious leaders, teachers, and community organizers. 

Their training ran from July 1-2, 2023, aimed at equipping participants with comprehensive knowledge about the reconciliation process, the importance of forgiveness and healing, and the role of dialogue in community development.

Through the combined capacity-building training, the INCHR Human Rights Education Officer, Annie D. Knuckles said her institution through the support of UNDP Liberia is gradually empowering the local communities to take ownership of the reconciliation and peace-building process. 

“The palava hut mechanism has been recognized as a powerful tool for fostering understanding, forgiveness, and healing after the Liberian civil war,” she said.

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