MONROVIA-Liberian Lawyers under the banner of the African Platform for Human Rights and Governance (APHURG) have trained Liberians in Montserrado County Electoral District #17 on violence free elections and various laws.

During the one-day awareness on electoral violence and civil education conducted in central Virginia, Montserrado County Electoral District#17, the participants were drilled on why they should remain civil during and after the much-anticipated October 10, 2023 presidential and legislative elections.

The organization was established in January 2021. Giving an overview of the Election and Governance activities, the Gender Officer of the African Platform for Human Rights and Governance (APHURG), Ms. Cyfla Lymas said across Montserrado County, they are basically creating awareness on the negative effects of violence in the country; detect signs of violence and train community members within the country, with emphasis on Montserrado County.

Madam Lymas further said the activity will help identify causes of violence that will help to minimize the occurrences and effects of such activities.

“APHURG will identify and work with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in Montserrado County who are involved with gender- based violence as well as electoral violence issues in the county. We will provide basic awareness and training to empower CBOs and community members to continue creating awareness against violence in the county and identify community leaders who can be provided with essential knowledge on violence prevention and conflict resolution techniques,” she added.

“Acquired knowledge on how to identify early signs of violence, prevent or manage violence in their community. Strengthen knowledge on how to intervene in conflict situation and become peace ambassadors in their communities. Obtain knowledge on how to detect signs of violence and methods of resolution,” she said added.

There were presentations made during the workshop and participants were drilled on vices that have the propensity to cause violent and how they can be mitigated. They were drilled on election offenses, electoral complaint mechanism, hearing and determination of complaints, decisions on complaints, among others.

The project is under the theme, “Seventeen Days’ Action towards the alleviation of electoral violence in Liberia” (communities’ awareness and sensitization outreach initiative in the seventeen electoral districts of Montserrado County) and it runs from June 17, 2023 to September 30, 2023.

Speaking at the program the Executive Director of APHURG, Atty. Bowoulo T. Kelley stressed on freedom of expression, opinion and inclusiveness for all in electoral activities.

Atty. Bowoulo said “As civilized people, we can express or discuss without confrontations. No party more superior than others. In a civilized society, and in politics, you don’t discuss people, you discuss issues and ideas. We have freedom of association, assembly and expression. We shouldn’t be intimidated or intimidate others.” She further said as sheexplained the various laws to the participants and why they are very important during electioneering period like this.

Presenting on violence and its effect on society, Mr. Gayduobah M. Korkorku, National Coordinator of APHURG reminded the participants that community violence takes lives and leaves behind a lasting legacy of trauma and as such; it must be prevented.”

Korkorku further said, “Community violence affects millions of people, and their families, schools, and communities every year.   Violence can cause significant physical injuries and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Living in a community experiencing violence is also associated with increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Concerns about violence may prevent some people from engaging in healthy behaviors, such as walking, bicycling, using parks and recreational spaces, and accessing healthy food outlets. Violence scares people out of participating in neighborhood activities, limits business growth and prosperity, strains education, justice, medical systems   and slows community progress.”

Meanwhile, the APHURG National Coordinator is calling on community leaders to work collaboratively with community residents and those impacted by violence, such as young people with experience of violence, to develop violence prevention efforts.

He said “Partnering with community members to select, implement, and monitor prevention activities helps ensure that the efforts are community driven and effective at preventing and reducing community violence.”

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