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13.07.2003 General News

Liberias Women Refugees Want To Go Home

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A group of Liberian women on Saturday wept bitterly at a special forum organised at the Teachers’ Hall in Accra, as they made a passionate appeal to leaders of the West -African sub-region to send them back home.

The women, who said they were tired of living as refugees, impressed upon the participants at the forum that they do not want to die in a strange land. The appeal was made when the Network of Women’s Rights, a non- governmental organisation led by Professor Takyiwaa Manu, met with the Liberian women to express their solidarity with them.

The women said they are now the laughing stock of womanhood across the sub-region, adding that they are unable to take good care of their children the way mothers should.

They pointed out that some of them are now practising prostitution due largely to the circumstances in which they find themselves.

Madam Joyce Freeman of the Liberia Labour Union called on her colleagues to stop fighting among themselves and learn from their Ghanaian counterparts about how to organise people. She also called on the Liberian Government and the belligerents in the conflict to put an end to the war.

Professor Manu, who is also the Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, said the women of Liberia should be commended for the courage with which they endured all the 10 agonising years of conflict in their country.

This, she said, is in spite of the fact that most of the women have lost their loved ones in the war. Prof. Manu noted that the African continent today literally lies in tatters simply because men in Africa have monopolised power, but have not used it responsibly.

She said the African Union’s cardinal principle of non-interference will have to be reviewed, to make it possible for states on the continent to interfere in each other’s matters. She pointed out that this will help to prevent civil strifes in Africa, before they become uncontrollable. ‘Africans should interest themselves in one another to ensure that the right thing is done’, she said.

She called on African leaders to seriously consider involving women in the politics of the continent. She said unless this is done, nothing substaintial can be achieved from all the numerous peace confrences in Africa’s quest to settle conflicts on the continent.

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