No work, no peace : livelihoods of ex-combatants in Monrovia, Liberia
AuthorForsther, Michael Pah
Conflicts undermine state security, cause massive loss of lives, destroy livelihoods and undermine the general well-being of civilian populations. DDR has thus become the foremost policy tool for securing state security and establishing the framework for reconstructing conflict-affected societies. Using Liberia as a case, the present study has explored the livelihoods of ex-combatants within the framework of the UN-led DDR Program. Re-integrating ex-combatants into civil, productive and institutional life is the expected end result of the DDR Program. This led to the use of three main concepts; human security, human development and reconciliation. These three concepts provided the basis for assessing the success of the DDR Program in Liberia, with empirical focus on the ex-combatants' livelihoods in Monrovia. The study then found that most of the ex-combatants were unemployed; they had no stable sources of income and place to live. They were using illegal means such as armed robbery and criminal gang banditry to support themselves. The DDR failed to help prepare and reintegrate the ex-combatants into civilian life. The program also failed in making the ex-fighters responsible members of their communities despite the time and resources used for the program. Improving the human security of those directly involved in the conflict was an important way to bring development to the local communities, and to also reconcile perpetrators with their victims. The DDR Program in Liberia appeared to have had its own administrative problems, including funding. These problems strongly may have affected its operations, especially in providing alternative and legitimate sources of income for the ex-combatants. This is because a mass of unemployed and disgruntled ex-fighters can seriously undermine post-conflict security, reconstruction and reconciliation.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2011 The Author(s)
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