On 30th of March, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), a peacemaking mission came to a successful end. This mission was of crucial importance in the history of Liberia and the people of Liberia embraced the conclusion of the mission after its aim has been accomplished. The end of UNMIL signifies that Liberia has made progress and it is not what it used to be. Prior to United Nations 15-year mission, Liberia had been through a long period of civil war and crisis which lasted between 1989 and 2003.
While the crisis was on, the people of Liberia assumed they had been abandoned by the United Nations not until the arrival of UNMIL in October 2003 with a commission to protect, support and proffer resolution to the conflicts.
The contribution of the United Nations is immeasurable. The UNMIL persistently supported every facet of the country’s recovery which includes the reduction of the military forces and their capacity to wage war, reintegration of soldiers which includes child soldiers were disarmed and rehabilitated into the society. The UNMIL also supported the recruitment and training of officers of the Liberia National Police and the Armed Forces of Liberia and conducted three successful elections – 2005, 2011 and 2017. For the first time in 70 years, there was a peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another.
The conduct of 2005 election which happens to be the first after the total breakdown of governance perfectly revealed the role played by UNMIL in recovering Liberia. Helicopter was made available by the UNMIL to convey materials for voting to distant and inaccessible areas to enable thousands to cast their votes. The 2005 election wouldn’t have been a successful one without the intervention of the UNMIL.
The role of UNMIL wasn’t restricted to logistics; it also hired and trained thousands to work with the National Election Commission and made provision for media development training to Liberia’s local journalists.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is peradventure the most successful UN peacekeeping operation on record. The mission was active during the first and second civil wars from 1989-1996 and 1999-2006 respectively.
According to the UN News, United Nations stated that ‘a proactive and holistic approach is needed for developing countries to effectively deal with trade regulations on environmental health-related concerns.’ This is to say that United Nations is an advocate for proactive approach towards dealing with issues that pertains to a country.
Liberia has an extremely underdeveloped economy before the first civil war that happened between 1989 and 1996. This should be one of the reasons much attention should be paid to Liberia hence, UN being proactive in their intervention towards Liberia.
The United Nations is an international body which is responsible for protecting the world from another world war and genocide. It consists of 193 member states and all have agreed to make resources available to fight for the peace and prosperity of the world. The civil war that successfully made its way into Liberia reveals and confirms that United Nations has not been effective and proactive in recent years because of the structure of the security council. The security council is one of the main elements of the United Nations whose primary responsibility is to maintain peace and stability in the world. The structure of the United Nations Security Council is built in a way where 15 countries of the Security Council make a decision for the 193 member states that are in the United Nations. There is too much ‘veto power’ in this particular element of the United Nations. The veto power gives every member a political right to disapprove a decision or law even if it would bring peace and prosperity. The United Nations Security Council could be improved if the veto power is completely abolished or restricted to specific situations.
One of the assumed reasons for the ineffectiveness and lack of proactivity of the United Nations is the reluctance of its developed members – United States, Russia, and China in the affairs of other countries. These members usually stay out of conflicts that do not directly affect and benefit them. This has caused a huge problem because the body that is meant to bring peace is not exceptionally effective because its main actors have other goals.
The United Nations plays an important role in the world but hasn’t been effective. Liberians would have been saved of the civil wars if the United Nations had seen the war coming and acted appropriately to avert it instead of telling stories of how the war contributed to the poverty of Liberia and negatively affected the low economy of the country today.
By Grace Ololade Rauf