LIBERIA: As Crisis Continues in Ivory Coast: U.S. Ambassador Challenges Women

Thursday, March 31, 2011
The Inquirer
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

The United States Ambassador to Liberia has challenged Liberian women to stand-up and say no to the on-going political crisis in Ivory Coast. She said women have the voice and must stand up as mothers to say no to their children participating in the ongoing fighting in the wake of reports that Liberians are involved in the fighting in that country. Speaking on Wednesday in Monrovia at the Public Diplomatic Section when the Embassy organized and held a one day “Women Political Empowerment” workshop for Liberian women, Ambassador Greenfield reminded the women that they have a greater role to play and the voice to take collective action.

The US envoy who reasoned that the on-going crisis in neighboring Ivory Coast has a major impact on the peace and stability of Liberia and pointed out that there are reports that so many boys are participating in the fighting, stressing the need for mothers to take a pro-active approach in cautioning their children or sons to stay away from the fighting.

She urged Liberian women not to take money from these children who have stolen as a result of their involvement or participation in the war, but rather, they should take a stance against them by urging them to stay away from the fighting.

She added that Liberian mothers should not take interest in taking and using money from these children who might have earned from the fighting as a way of demonstrating that they do not support their participation in the war in that country.

Ambassador Greenfield, however, used the occasion to commend the efforts of Ivorian women, who she said are making frantic efforts to resolve the crisis. On other issue, the US envoy welcomed the timing of the workshop, which she noted is significant as the “Women in History,” month is being observed.

She said the national security strategy of her country recognizes that countries the world over are more peaceful and prosperous when their females citizens enjoy equal opportunities.

She pointed out that President Barrack Obama has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of the nation's foreign and national security, stressing that currently, the United States government is integrating a focus on women and girls in all its diplomatic efforts and is incorporating gender consideration in every aspect of the development assistance of the United States.

The US Ambassador used the occasion to commend Liberian women for their courage and resoluteness exhibited over the past and for making history in ending hostilities through a peaceful resistance in 2003 and in 2005.

Also speaking, the Chief Facilitator of the workshop Vivian Lowery Derryck who is the president and CEO of the Bridges Institute based in the USA thanked the participants and the US embassy for the honor and kind reception and for making the one day workshop a success.

Meanwhile, fighting is reported to be continuing between forces of embattled President Gbagbo and Mr. Quattara who is believed to have won the elections with reports that Quattara forces have entered Abidjan.