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II. Recommendations

To the Governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire

  • Ensure that your governments proactively address the issues which have in large part given rise to armed conflict including bad governance, corruption, and the inequitable distribution of natural resources.
  • Cease recruiting for, funding, arming or otherwise supporting armed groups whose goals include the destabilizing of a neighboring country.
  • Cease recruiting any foreign national who has sought refuge in your country for use in your national security forces or militias where such persons are known to have fought with an armed group that is responsible for a systematic pattern of abuses.
  • Take measures to prohibit your nationals and residents from hiring themselves out as foreign fighters to any armed force that is responsible for a systematic pattern of abuses.
  • Criminalize activities associated with the cross-border funding, arming or otherwise supporting of armed groups that are responsible for a systematic pattern of abuses. Cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of individuals responsible for illegal criminal activity which may amount to war crimes.
  • Criminalize and prosecute to the full extent of the law, individuals, nationals, or non-nationals involved in the recruitment or use of child combatants on your territory, be they for use in an armed conflict in your country or elsewhere.
  • Facilitate access by the International Committee of the Red Cross to all armed groups present in your territory, be they members of your own national security forces, members of insurgent groups or known to be involved in the destabilization of a neighboring country.
  • Ensure that those individuals most responsible for perpetrating widespread and systematic human rights abuses during armed conflicts on your territory or on the territory of a neighbor are held accountable for their crimes through a legitimate judicial process.
  • Ensure that your governments establish status determination bodies to screen and separate combatants from refugees, and work swiftly to set up separate camps for combatants. Additionally, there is a need for improved policing to ensure that refugees are adequately protected and to guarantee the civilian nature of all refugee camps.
  • Liberia, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea should follow the example of Sierra Leone by committing to cease using child soldiers and immediately sign and/or ratify the Optional Protocol on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

To All Governments donating funds to Liberia

  • Provide the required funding to the United Nations Development Program Trust Fund, the European Community and the U.S. Agency for International Development to cover the US $39 million shortfall for the rehabilitation and reintegration phase of the Liberian Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) program.
  • Provide the required US $165 million discrepancy between funds pledged at the February 2004 International Reconstruction Conference on Liberia and those which have been provided by donor nations. These funds are essential for, among other things, resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Liberian refugees and internally displaced people, and reconstruction of judicial and corrections institutions aimed at establishing the rule of law.
  • Provide the required funding to cover the U.N. World Food Programme’s US $140 shortfall for their 2005-2006 projects for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea which provides food aid for school children, internally displaced persons, returning refugees and ex-combatants.

To the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) and the African Union

  • Strengthen the ECOWAS small arms moratorium and its implementation. The moratorium should be expanded to encompass all weapons categories, developed into an information-exchange mechanism, and made binding. Further efforts are needed to ensure that arms exporters comply with the moratorium, which could be facilitated through full participation in the proposed information exchange.
  • Consider the imposition of sanctions – including arms embargos, travel bans, and economic sanctions – against governments involved in cross-border funding, recruitment of child soldiers, or arming or supporting of armed groups that are responsible for a systematic pattern of human rights abuses.
  • Ensure that any troops deployed from ECOMOG remain completely neutral and desist from providing logistical or other support to any armed group.

To the United Nations Security Council

  • Consider targeted measures against parties to armed conflict including parties in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire, and complicit actors in neighboring countries, whose actions contribute to illicit cross-border activities and to the consequent fuelling of conflict. Such activities expose civilians to further atrocities and abuse, and undermine efforts at establishing peace, security, legitimate economic activities, and the rule of law.
  • Condemn the practice of recruitment of refugees from camps by governments and rebel groups in the region and request UNHCR to take urgent measures to improve protection, in collaboration with other UN and non-governmental humanitarian agencies.
  • As recommended by the Secretary-General in his report on children and armed conflict (S/2005/72) regarding parties that have made insufficient progress in ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers, impose targeted measures including travel restrictions on leaders and their exclusion from any governance structure and amnesty provisions, and restrictions on the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned. In addition, make the end of child recruitment an explicit criterion for lifting existing arms embargoes.

To the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) and United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI)

  • Require the human rights sections of UNMIL, UNAMSIL and ONUCI to investigate and document current efforts to recruit recently demobilized combatants, especially children, and publicly report on their findings.
  • Ensure that the military and civilian police personnel in UNMIL, UNAMSIL and ONUCI work in coordination to detect, report on, and prevent the movement of combatants and arms across their respective borders and into neighboring countries.  If investigations identify individuals believed to be involved in cross-border funding, recruitment of child soldiers, or arming or supporting of armed groups that are responsible for a systematic pattern of abuses, they should be referred to the national courts for prosecution.
  • Engage and deploy as soon as possible the two proposed child protection advisors (CPA) to assist the Secretary General’s offices and peacekeeping missions in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire with related child protection activities. Consider the deployment of additional child protection advisors to both missions.

To the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

  • Initiate a formal investigation into reports of efforts by any government or non-state actor to recruit children for use by any armed group, most urgently in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire where there are credible reports of the recruitment of child soldiers by armed groups operating in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Encourage governments to take disciplinary measures or criminal charges as appropriate against individuals in state or non-state forces involved in the recruitment or use of child soldiers.
  • Use its position as advisor to DPKO on the demobilization of child combatants to advocate for the end of the policy of providing cash payment to children taking part in any disarmament exercise.

To the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • Enhance protection and security measures at refugee camps in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone so that refugees from the region are protected from forced recruitment into regional conflicts. Specifically, an increase in the number of UNHCR protection staff working in all such camps is required.
  • Ensure, in particular, that the UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection and Care of Refugee Children are fully implemented to prevent the recruitment of children from refugee camps or settlements.
  • Publicly identify governments and non-state actors who persist in recruiting from refugee camps in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

To the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank and others involved in the design, management and evaluation of disarmament exercises

  • Put in place measures to address allegations of theft and manipulation of benefits by former commanders and employees in the disarmament programs through the creation of a formal grievance procedure in which allegations could be registered, investigated and referred for prosecution. Ensure the grievance procedure is well publicized, easily accessible to combatants, and provided with the authority to refer cases for criminal prosecution.
  • Ensure that there is an agreement, including a memorandum of understanding, between the United Nations and the government of the country in which the disarmament exercise is taking place, to investigate and prosecute, through the national justice system, those commanders and disarmament program employees alleged to be involved in criminal activity including the fraud, embezzlement, diversion or misuse of disarmament benefits.
  • Ensure that future  disarmament programs desists from providing child combatants with cash payment, since this policy not only undermines efforts to successfully reunify and reintegrate them back into their families and communities, but also makes them more vulnerable for re-recruitment into subsequent armed conflicts.
  • Ensure that a human rights education module is included in all future disarmament programs. This would include information on international humanitarian law or the laws of war, women’s rights and children’s rights. These classes should be compulsory, in-depth and should include discussions on accountability, responsibility and justice.
  • Review job training options within rehabilitation and reintegration programs to ensure they are based on an accurate market analysis of local needs.
  • Increase the number of qualified and experienced staff within the disarmament section of peacekeeping operations, including an officer responsible for providing oversight, evaluation and monitoring of the disarmament program.
  • Closely monitor and continuously evaluate the functioning of DDR programs at every level to reduce wide-scale, low-level corruption arising from the participation of former commanders in screening procedures.
  • Integrate DDR programs with other development and social services programs to share the burden of creating social stability and minimize the susceptibility of demobilized combatants to re-recruitment.

To the Government of Nigeria

  • Surrender former Liberian president Charles Taylor to the Special Court for Sierra Leone which in 2003 indicted him on seventeen counts of crimes against humanity, war crimes and other serious violations of international humanitarian law for his role in human rights crimes during Sierra Leone ’s civil war.

To the International Committee of the Red Cross

  • In addition to training active combatants in the laws of war, train recently demobilized combatants on the laws of war in coordination with U.N. and nationally run disarmament exercises.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>April 2005