liberia: a country torn by political violence

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A slide show about the political violence of Liberia.

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A country torn by… A VIOLENCE that affects us ALL… POLITICAL VIOLENCE By: William Ford, Ladrena Brown, Tyrone Adams, & Mary Shelton

The country of Liberia : 

The country of Liberia A country historically a part of America and American history. Why Liberia? Liberia also known as “America’s Step Child” is a former U.S. colony created by freed slaves from the U.S. who settled to live peacefully and end illegal West African slave trade through the American Colonization Society (ACS) in 1821. Historically, from WWII onward, Liberia was America’s only source of natural rubber. During the Cold War it became an important base to fight the spread of Communism. Years after, Liberia suffered from 14 devastating years (1989-2003) of Civil War. Over 250,000 Liberians including over 50,000 children were killed. Why you should care? Liberia is still trying to recover from the damage of war. Many schools, hospitals, roads, and public services and systems remain ruined. There are over 9 million refugees and internally displaced people from conflicts in Africa. Many refugees are settled here in America.

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The following have been caused by… Political Violence 1. War & Conflict Child Soldiers Humanitarian Isues (1)Poverty, (2) Refugees, Internally displaced people (3) Illiteracy & lack of education 2. Sexual Violence Rape against women & children Liberia’s Medical needs (1) clinics and hospitals, (2) health professionals Conflict Diamonds “aka” Blood Diamonds Meaning behind the phrase Impact on the continent of Africa Former president -warlord Charles Taylor The Kimberly Process Political Natural Resource Behind It All

Ex-Child Soldiers Struggle for New Lives (Click on Text) : 

Ex-Child Soldiers Struggle for New Lives (Click on Text) WAR & CONFLICT

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Child Soldiers

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FACT: Over 10,000 recruited ex- child soldiers have lost their childhood to war and continue to struggle. Many are disabled, unemployed, abandoned, and or lost. -Chicago Tribune Lives of ex-Child Soldiers

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FACT: According to the United Nations, hunger causes the death of about 25,000 people everyday. This is one person every three and a half seconds. Unfortunately, the number of children is greater than that of adults. – United Nations World Food Program (WFP) Hunger

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FACT: In 2008 Liberia was ranked amongst the top 10 poorest countries in the world. 80% of Liberia’s population lived on less than $1 a day (GDP-per capita of $500) —Oxfam International Poverty

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FACT: In 2004 some 300,000 people in Liberia were homeless because of the war and 320,000 more Liberians were in refugee camps in other countries. Many refugees flee one war only to find themselves living in another- PBS.org Iron Ladies of Liberia Refugees

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FACT: At the end of the country’s civil crisis Liberia had an illiteracy rate of 90% among women and more than 75% among men. 9 out of every 10 women in Liberia are unable to read or write in 2003. —Oxfam International 2003 Refugees illiteracy

SEXUAL VIOLENCE

FACT: In January 2006 Liberia became among fewer than 20 African countries to adopted laws against rape- AllAfrica.com

Although rape is a crime with a maximum life sentence for those found guilty, rape cases have continued to rise according to rights groups. Half of reported rape cases are attacks against teenage girls between the ages of 10 to15 years old according to government statistics- IRIN: Humanitarian News & Analysis : 

Although rape is a crime with a maximum life sentence for those found guilty, rape cases have continued to rise according to rights groups. Half of reported rape cases are attacks against teenage girls between the ages of 10 to15 years old according to government statistics- IRIN: Humanitarian News & Analysis

A study carried out in 2008 found that more than 40% of women combatants, and 32% of men who fought in the war, suffered sexual violence during the conflict. –Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors without Borders : 

A study carried out in 2008 found that more than 40% of women combatants, and 32% of men who fought in the war, suffered sexual violence during the conflict. –Medecins Sans Frontieres/ Doctors without Borders

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FACT: The World Health Organization (WHO) says that violence against women is a major public health problem in Africa and elsewhere, with "profound" health implications that are often ignored.

CONFLICT DIAMONDS “Blood Diamonds”

Blood diamonds are diamonds mined in a war zone and sold in order to finance an insurgency, including army’s war efforts, or a warlords activity. This situation has lead to the murder of numerous innocent men, women, and children. In the late 1990’s the issue of conflict diamonds gained worldwide attention after an extremely brutal outbreak of violence in several African countries.

Impact on the continent of Africa: It is estimated that approximately 65% of the world’s diamonds come from African countries. This is a billion dollar industry, and is one of the most essential pillars of Africa’s economy. As a result of the ongoing violence in the regions which contain these diamonds, the issues of accountability for the atrocities that have taken place have led to the arrest of several warlords.

Liberia’s own former president, Charles Taylor was arrested in 2007 for alleged war crimes related to his role in the war in neighboring Sierra Leonne, where Taylor was accused of backing rebels responsible for widespread atrocities. Charles Taylor allegedly sold blood diamonds in order to buy weapons for Sierra Leonne’s Revolutionary United Front rebels, who were notorious for hacking off the hands and legs of civilians during their decade long war.

The “Kimberly Process” is a joint governments, industry and civil society initiative recently instituted in order to eradicate the flow of conflict diamonds. Unfortunately it is very difficult to end the trade and sale of blood diamonds, still there are things consumers can ask their jewelry retailers in order to determine whether or not the diamonds they purchase are conflict-free. Amnesty International and Global Witness have produced a brief guide potential customers can use to ensure they are not purchasing blood diamonds. Hopefully our collective efforts to improve this situation will bring forth the end of the blood diamond.

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Listed are some diamond companies that have helped stop the global effort of trade in conflict diamonds. C5 adds a very important (if often neglected) fifth C—consciousness. All jewelry is made in the USA from recycled metals and lab-created or ethically sourced gems. Helzberg Diamonds helps clean up the jewelry trade by supporting mining reform, incorporating sustainable business practices into day-to-day operations, and upholding strict policies to keep conflict diamonds out of their inventory. Located inside Westfield Mall, Fairfield Leber Jeweler offers conflict-free diamonds from Canada, fairly traded gemstones, and precious metals processed from reclaimed sources in its Earthwise Jewelry Collection. Tiffany & Co. is an industry heavy hitter with a reputation as a leader in sustainable business practices. Zales is North America's largest specialty jewelry retailer and a founding member of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices. Zales' policies regarding conflict diamonds are stringent and set in stone, if you will, so shoppers with diamond lust can purchase the bling of their liking knowing that they've made an ethically sound decision.- Located inside Westfield Mall, Fairfield

Ways YOU can help! : 

Ways YOU can help! Purchase Fair Trade Diamonds ONLY Spread the word! Help Campaign to end Blood Diamonds by SIGNING PETITION on Bright Earth’s website. Before purchasing diamonds (whether for an anniversary, wedding, engagement, mothers day, etc.) ask about the "Conflict Free Diamonds" store policy. Ask if the company or jeweler participates and or supports the “Kimberley Process” and “Clean Diamond Trade Act”. Brilliant Earth is located in downtown San Francisco at the corner of Geary and Kearny near Union Square and is a “Conflict Free Diamonds Eco-Friendly Gold” certified quality Canadian diamond company. Brilliant Earth’s jewelry is made with recycled gold and platinum. Five- percent of the companies profits directly benefit local African communities harmed by the diamond industry. FOR MORE INFO. VISIT: http://www.brilliantearth.com/ or call (800) 691-0952.

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Ways YOU can help! the people of Liberia THROUGH A CALIFORNIA NON- PROFIT ORGANIZATION CALLED RELIEF, INC. 1. Spread the word about Relief, Inc. ! 2. Promote Reliefinc.org website/ visit website 3. Become a volunteer 4. Promote car wash and organizations events 5. Get your cars washed at “Prime Shine Express” located in Modesto, CA (Stanislaus County) In 2002, Relief Inc., a humanitarian non-profit organization was established to improve the lives of the people of Liberia. The organization ships food containers, clothes, medical supplies, school supplies, toys, etc. and personally distributes them to thousands of needy men, women, children, and families of war torn Liberia. FOR MORE INFO. VISIT: Reliefinc.org/ or call (209)545-1700

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Ways YOU can help! the people of Liberia 6. Collect school supplies : Supplies will help Relief, Inc’s efforts in assisting growing schools and projects in Liberia. 7. Help campaign: Set a “Change for Change” container at your job, church, and or school/collect change. 8. Turn your vacation into a donation: “YTB Travel Network” 9. Invest in RELIEF, INC: “S.H.A.R.E.S Program” through monthly spending at Save Mart, Lucky’s or FoodMaxx (3% of monthly spending goes to organization) 10. Donate through Capitol One Miles: Make an impact with Capital One and Network for Good

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"Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester" - Sydney J. Harris We hope you learned something you can share from today’s presentation!

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RESOURCES/SOURCES CITED http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/photo/chi-liberia-slideshows,0,7722098.htmlpage#Child%20soldiers Liberia: The impact of Civil War, Chicago Tribune http://www.globalissues.org/issue/83/conflicts-in-africa Global Issues: Conflicts in Africa http://www.wisegeek.com/what-should-i-know-about-liberia.htm Wise Geek: What I Should Know About Liberia? http://www.globalsecurity.org/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/webinator/search/?pr=default&order=r&query=liberia GlobalSecurity.org keyword “Liberia” http://www.svdcuria.org/public/jpic/liberia/liben01.htm Divine Word Missionaries: Peace and Justice Issues; Refugees in Liberia; Searching for books in a country of Guns

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RESOURCES/SOURCES CITED (continued) http://www.priorityafrica.org/African_Immigrants.html Priority Africa Network; Africa Focused Social Justice Movement http://liberian.tripod.com/linkL.html The Liberian Post; Independent Internet Magazine  http://smileliberia.org/ Smile Liberia International, Inc. Violence against women: A global health crisis Ellisberg Scand J Public Health 2006; 34: 1-4. http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/300/6/676 The Journal of the American Medical Association: Association of Combatant Status and Sexual Violence With Health and Mental Health Outcomes in Post conflict Liberia Off Our Backs; Sep/Oct2004, Vol. 34 Issue 9/10, p4-5, 2p

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RESOURCES/ SOURCES CITED (continued) Women of War: Emotional Needs of Ethnic Albanians in Refugee Camps Drumm et al. Affilia 2001; 16: 467-487  http://www.irinnews.org/PrintReport.aspx?ReportId=62311IRIN: Humanitarian News & Analysis, LIBERIA: Rape in Liberia still goes unpunished http://www.liberianbooks.org/ Liberian Literacy Foundation Time Magazine : February 12,2001; volume 157, no.6 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7058701.stm BBC News:Liberia decries lack of doctors http://www.brilliantearth.com/Blood-Diamonds-Fact-Sheet-2010/ Conflict Diamonds, Brilliant Earth

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RESOURCES/ SOURCES CITED http://www.diamondfacts.org/ Diamond Facts http://www.kimberleyprocess.com/ Kimberly Process: From Conflict Diamonds to Prosperity Diamonds http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/2963086.stm BBC News: Charles Taylor - preacher, warlord, president http://reliefinc.org/ Remember Every Liberian Influences Enduring Freedom

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