UN Peacekeeping is a Success in Liberia
Between 2006 and 2008, the Better World Campaign successfully advocated for Congress to pass needed funding of more than $1 billion to fulfill U.S. financial commitments to UN peacekeeping. This funding ensured that critical missions impacting life for millions of people were able to continue.
With 16 peacekeeping missions and 100,000 troops and personnel deployed to conflicts around the world, the UN is positively impacting the lives of hundreds of million of people. These forces prevent the outbreak of conflict, assist in implementing peace agreements, stabilize conflict areas after a ceasefire, and help nations transition to stable governments.
A strong example of UN Peacekeeping in action is Liberia, where a 15-year civil war led to the deaths of more than 250,000 people and the displacement of almost a million—staggering figures considering that the country’s population is just slightly more than 3 million people. After years of violence, Liberia was in ruins.
In 2003, the UN Security Council authorized a peacekeeping mission to deploy to Liberia. The force, known as UNMIL, provided security guarantees that let the UN and other international agencies embark on a series of humanitarian and infrastructure-building projects throughout the country. UNMIL grew to be 15,000 strong, working to oversee the disarmament and demobilization of former fighters, and helping the UN and international agencies to restore basic services to the Liberian people.
By 2006, a tenuous peace was beginning to take hold in Liberia. The country democratically elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first female president of an African country. Yet during this time, the U.S. drastically underfunded UN peacekeeping, threatening the UN’s operations in Liberia.
We are proud to support the UN’s successes in places like Liberia by advocating for a strong, fully funded UN system. America’s investment in UN peacekeeping is relatively small (just 25 percent of the total budget) and amplified by sharing the burden of promoting peace with 191 other countries.
Through continued international support for UNMIL, peace has taken root in Liberia. In January 2007, the world’s first-ever all-female peacekeeping contingent deployed to there. This group was uniquely positioned to make an impact on Liberian women, who were routinely targeted during the civil war. The presence of this all-women’s peacekeeping group from India resulted in increased reporting of gender-based violence and a decrease in the crime overall. The Liberian National Police followed the example and recruited more women to serve in its ranks, showing the lasting instructional impact by UNMIL’s presence in Liberia.