The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General Farid Zarif has cautioned Liberians to prepare to embrace the opportunities and to meet the challenges in the New Year, as they celebrate the holiday season. He also urged Liberians to use this festive season for reflection and celebration.
In his holiday message to the nation, SRSG Zarif said Liberians can indeed be proud of the progress they have made in 2015, saying “It was not an easy year, as the impact of the Ebola crisis continued to be felt.”
He hailed Liberians saying, they persevered in beating back Ebola. “And when the virus reappeared late in the year, the Government and its partners quickly put in place the necessary systems and worked closely with the affected communities to contain it,” he added
Heowever, SRSG Zarif said during the season it is a time when families gather and share in the spirit of joy and peace adding that “It is a time for giving and a time for forgiveness; a time for tolerance and harmony among neighbours, and in the larger community”.
Mr. Zarif continued that it is a time when families have an opportunity to accept each other in good will and with all of our wonderful diversity and further pointed that the end of the year is also a time to take stock of our achievements and setbacks.
He said since taking over as SRSG in early September, he has seen Liberia show ever greater commitment to the security transition, including the deployment of more security personnel to the border counties.The SRG also pointed out that public discourse is slowly but surely and maturely evolving away from nervous calls to suspend the UNMIL drawdown, and towards demonstrations of greater confidence and implementation of the necessary reforms that must occur between now and 30 June 2016.
“As I travel around the country, I see communities increasingly recognizing the role every Liberian citizen has to play in ensuring stability, security and peace. I see a growing commitment among Liberians and their leaders to address the root causes of potential conflicts. And I see progress on the de-concentration of services to the counties,” Mr. Zarif narrated.
The SRG said he is confident that Liberia will soon see passage of key legislation required to ensure a fair and just society, such as the land Rights Act, the Land Authority Act, and the Gender Equality Act.
“In recent months, we have seen the awakening of greater political will to address the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. I am sure this momentum will continue through the New Year. It must. And the Mission will do even more to tackle SEA. One case is one case too many and I will not tolerate SEA on my watch,” the UN envoy lamented.
He renew the pledge by saying UNMIL will not cut and run from Liberia the next day, even when the mission eventually withdraws, the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes will continue to support your quest for irreversible peace, security and progress.
“On behalf of all of us in UNMIL, I wish joy and prosperity to all, and to all of you in Liberia who celebrate Christmas. May this happy occasion promote mutual respect among people of all faiths,” the SRG concluded.