Petition 80618

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Liberia (80618-GM-R9999)

Add a new resolution to the Book of Resolutions as follows:
“Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the downtrodden; he casts the wicked to the ground.” (Psalm 147:5-6)
“Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18)
In 2005, the people of the Liberia “seized the moment” to elect new political leaders after a 14-year civil war that left the country in ruins. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a United Methodist, was elected as the first woman President of an African country. The people of Liberia expect the new government to tackle the national ills of bad governance,
corruption, poverty, illiteracy, diseases, unemployment, and mediocrity.
During the 14-year civil war more than 270,000 Liberians were killed and over 500,000 were forced to flee their homes. Entire communities were uprooted. Economic activity declined sharply. Poverty increased sharply. Agricultural production dropped as people fled their farms. Exports nearly ceased. Mining and timber shut down. The infrastructure
of the country was destroyed. Government finances collapsed. More than 75% of Liberians now live below the poverty line of $1 a day. Unemployment is as high as 85%.
Since President Sirleaf’s inauguration in January 2006 Liberia has begun the long journey to recovery. The new government has resettled tens of thousands of refugees, and begun training new security forces, increased government revenues, restored electricity and water to part of the capital, substantially increased primary school enrollment, and has
begun to rebuild roads and other critical infrastructure.
The government developed a plan for the reconstruction and development of the country.  A key element of the plan is restoring and strengthening basic human rights and furthering empowering the Liberian people. The reconstruction and development strategy is based on four pillars: 1) expanding peace and security; 2) revitalizing economic activity; 3) strengthening governance and the rule of law; and 4) rebuilding infrastructure and providing basis services. The success of the plan must be based on how well it alleviates poverty and empowers people.
United Methodists are encouraged to partake in the journey of the Liberian people for a new future. We commit ourselves to:
1. urge governments to provide economic assistance for reconstruction and development and debt cancellation to the government of Liberia;
2. support and strengthen Liberian civil society so that all Liberians will be able to fully participate in public life, where government is at the service of its people, and where human rights and the rule of law is respected;
3. urge the United Nations and non-governmental organizations to join in the effort to help stabilize and rebuild Liberia;
4. provide humanitarian assistance, including medical services for HIV/AIDS and illnesses, food, and water
5. provide financial assistance to pastors and their families;
6. rebuild churches, parsonages, and church-related institutions;
7. repatriate, resettle, and provide shelter for displaced persons and war victims
8. assist the transition of soldiers into the civilian sector through counseling, vocational and general education;
9. engage in reconciliation and healing at the grassroots level between and among various ethnic groups;
10. train pastors to be agents of reconciliation, peace, and healing
11. set up counseling and education programs to help children, women, and others traumatized by war;
12. urge multinational corporations investing in Liberia to be good corporate citizens by respecting labor laws, training workers, protecting the environment, and supporting value-added production (i.e. rubber products) to the country’s present exports.
The United Methodist Church in Liberia is committed to prioritize ministries on human rights, peace-building, conflict resolution and reconciliation. We stand with you on this mission.