IRCL Outlines Peace Achievements
Chairman Rev. Kortu Brown Speaks Out
The Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council (IRCL) Rev. Dr. Kortu Brown has stated that the IRCL backed by a comprehensive support from the international donor community played a pivotal role in restoring peace to Liberia.
Speaking to newsmen at the Clay street office of the IRCL recently, Rev. Brown said they led the road to Accra for the Comprehensive Peace agreement which helped to bring peace to Liberia thereby closing the chapters to one of Africa’s most brutal civil wars.He described the role of the council during the crisis as realizing the huge responsibilities on them as religious leaders, the moral conscience of the society, to establish itself as a neutral body, thereby creating the favorable environment to build confidence for constructive dialogue and constructive engagements with all stakeholders.
According to him, this included all the belligerents’ parties to agree on dialogue to bring a logical peaceful and sustainable resolution to the crisis that was realized in Accra 15 years ago.
He said inn an effort to fast track the negotiations and mediation process aimed at ensuring a speedy end to the brutal civil crisis, the council undertook two important strategies, namely to draft a peace plan and undertaking a regional peace initiative within the Mano River Union communities.
He explained that the comprehensive peace plan which highlighted the deployment of an international peace enforcement and monitoring troop, establishment of a buffer zone between the belligerent factions, create a security corridor for humanitarian purpose.
Others include creating an enabling environment for mediation and a round table dialogue, in which all stakeholders are brought on board to discuss a way forward that leads to sustainable peace.
The council’s regional peace initiative was a response to the implications of the crisis on the entire region, so the council undertook a proactive regional initiative and measures by providing a supervisory role leading to the formation of inter-religious councils in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
“The objective was to geared towards maximizing a sustainable collaboration and cooperation among regional communities of the Mano River Basin aimed at addressing regional implications of the crisis within the spirit of the Mano River communities, hence the council also involved civil society actors and traditional leaders under the leadership of the religious communities,” he narrated.
He said the draft peace plan of the IRCL was presented to the ECOWAS Leadership which was subsequently modified and to become the “ECOWAS PEACE PLAN on Liberia”.
Explaining the historical circumstances that led to the formation of the IRCL, he said one of the most brutal civil upheavals in Africa, occurred in Liberia claiming thousands of lives and displaced residents and citizens within and out of the country, as well as destroying infrastructures worth millions of U.S dollars.
During the early stages of the crisis various belligerents involved all of them claiming equal opportunity and justice within the governance system of Liberia, and so as the brutality rages, far-sighted and patriotic Liberians and committed religious leaders developed a serious concern about the level of carnage and untold sufferings being meted out to the vulnerable and innocent population of the nation.
He said the concern mounted on the part of Christian and Islamic leaders who together invoked the blessings of God (Allah) to guide them by putting in place a mechanism for a speedy resolution to the hostility, an initiative that crystallized into the formation of the IRCL.
Asked whether there is no ideological differences with the Muslims, Rev. Brown who is also Chairman of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) noted that the IRCL was organized to foster the unity and peaceful co-existence of all peoples in the development of the human society, peaceful resolution and preventions of conflicts, foster negotiations and mutual respect for human dignity and the rights of all.
He added that the moral strength of the IRCL is derived from the flexible and moral ability of those farsighted and patriotic founding religious leaders, may the souls of those departed rest in pace, to ensure transparent and sustainable collaboration and cooperation among leaders of the two major religions.
The LCC president observed that they have divorced all doctrinal and issues from the process o the council’s interventions and they address all national and international issues confronting the nation and its peoples with one accord. (By John L. Momoh).