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The Lutheran Development Service (LDS) in collaboration with the Civil Peace Service has concluded a major peace program in Bong County, Central Liberia. The program was in observance of International Day of Peace held on Wednesday, 21 September, highlighting the importance of peace in post-conflict Liberia.

The ceremony, which took place in Palala, Bong County brought together hundreds of citizens, including residents of Kpai District, chiefs, students, and religious leaders, amongst others.
They paraded through the principal streets of Palala, caring placards with various peace promotional messages.

Delivering the Keynote Speech for the day on behalf of the head of the Catholic Diocese of Gbarnga, the Secretary of the Diocese of Gbarnga said maintenance of peace is an obligation of all Liberians.

Reverend Father Charles Gono, Jr., said reconciliation as a major part of the peace process, is about forgetting about hurts that have been inflicted and once again live together as one people.
Rev. Gono noted that the benefits of reconciliation are when people start to see one another as human beings, especially after years of bitterness.

He stressed the need for peaceful elections in Liberia, which according to him, should include reconciliation, justice, peace and truth.
Rev. Gono added that integrity, principal mindedness and being what one professes to be are very essential for peace and reconciliation. He said media practitioners should be given the environment to execute their responsibility without harassment and intimidation, but cautioned journalists to carry out their work responsibly by taking into consideration professional ethics.

The catholic official believes equal media coverage for all state actors will help the peace process, and cautioned whichever party that may emerge as winner to include losers and opposition members in government to a reasonable extent.

This year’s International Peace Day was celebrated under the theme, “Promoting Reconciliation and Peaceful Elections for Sustainable Development.” Every year the Lutheran Development Service and partners join communities to celebrate the day to highlight the importance of peace in the country. The ceremony was also attended by prominent local and national civil society organizations.

By Papa Morris-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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