Thursday, 19 February 2009

Liberia's TRC to Learn About Forestry's Role in the Conflict

Liberia's TRC has been under a lot of fire lately. Commissioners John Stewart (no, not that one) and Sheikh Kafumba Konneh have both been named by several witnesses as being not only supporters, but active members of rebel factions. Questions of its legitimacy and effectiveness at actually healing the active wounds from the past pop up with increasing frequency in the local media.

President Sirleaf's surprise appearance to the stand raised a lot of heads last week, though few seemed to believe "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" came out of her mouth.

Today, Global Witness testifies regarding three reports they put out last March regarding the economic crimes committed during the conflict. Blood diamonds became a household name even before Leo hit the big screen on that topic, but diamonds were not the only commodity supplying arms and feeding troops.

Liberia, although small, has the highest percentage of virgin rainforest in Africa, and 'Blood Timber' did its fair share to finance the war, particularly for Charles Taylor.

Testimony from Global Witness in this topic comes at an interesting time. The Liberian government has its first forestry concessions up for bid in years, with the first harvesting set to commence any day. Ensuring timber sales are done justly, and as free of corruption as is possible in Liberia, will be essential for creating a functional economy here, and providing work for the estimated 85 % of the population still without formal jobs.

1 comment:

V said...

Me again, reading down through your posts.

We all have to stop quote the figure of 85% per-cent unemployment. It is not (and never has been) based on anything remotely resembling fact. It is a guesstimation of such crudeness to border on pure fantasy.

Otherwise I think this was an excellent post!
Viktor Bengtsson