Text: H.Con.Res.240 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)

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Introduced in House (07/08/2003)


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[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 240 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. CON. RES. 240

    Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the urgency of 
  providing support for the ``Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of 
   Hostilities Between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and 
Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and the Movement for 
            Democracy of Liberia'', and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              July 8, 2003

Mr. Payne (for himself, Ms. Lee, Mr. Meeks of New York, Mr. Lantos, Ms. 
  Corrine Brown of Florida, Mr. Rangel, and Ms. Watson) submitted the 
following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on 
                        International Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


 
    Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the urgency of 
  providing support for the ``Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of 
   Hostilities Between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and 
Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy and the Movement for 
            Democracy of Liberia'', and for other purposes.

Whereas on June 17, 2003, the Government of Liberia, Liberians United for 
        Reconciliation and Democracy, and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia 
        reached an ``Agreement on Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities Between 
        the Government of the Republic of Liberia and Liberians United for 
        Reconciliation and Democracy and the Movement for Democracy of Liberia'' 
        (hereinafter referred to as the ``Ceasefire Agreement''), to halt 
        Liberia's brutal civil war and bring renewed hope for a peace agreement 
        for the people of Liberia and progress toward ending the political 
        destabilization, massive economic disruption, and humanitarian 
        devastation of West Africa;
Whereas President Charles Taylor of Liberia has announced that, if he were an 
        impediment to peace in Liberia and the region, he would step aside and 
        allow the formation of a transitional national government to pursue 
        peace and reconciliation in Liberia and the establishment of a 
        transitional government that would organize elections leading to a new 
        democratic government;
Whereas the Ceasefire Agreement states that immediately following the signing of 
        the Agreement, the Government of Liberia , Liberians United for 
        Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), and Movement for Democracy in 
        Liberia (MODEL), with all other Liberian political parties and 
        stakeholders will participate in a dialogue to seek, within a period of 
        30 days, a comprehensive peace agreement and the formation of a 
        transitional government, which will not include the current President 
        Charles Taylor;
Whereas the United States Government and Liberia have a long, historical 
        relationship beginning in 1820 when free Black Americans from the United 
        States founded the Republic of Liberia with a grant of $100,000 from 
        President James Monroe and in 1847 thousands of free Black Americans 
        from the United States immigrated to Liberia and declared their 
        independence;
Whereas in 1926 the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company opened a rubber plantation 
        on 400,000 hectares (1,000,000 acres) of land granted by the Liberian 
        Government allowing rubber production to become the mainstay of the 
        Liberian economy and in 1936 the new government of former slaves 
        succeeded in abolishing forced-labor practices on the Firestone 
        plantations;
Whereas in spite of its troubled domestic political history and disappointing 
        political leadership, Liberia has been a strong political ally of the 
        United States, including by its declaration of war on Germany on August 
        14, 1917, which gave the Allies an additional base in West Africa during 
        World War I, by allowing United States troops to be based in the country 
        in 1942 during World War II, and by permitting the construction of a 
        Voice of America transmitter to cover the entire African continent to 
        expose Soviet propaganda during the Cold War;
Whereas Liberians have suffered from repressive political leadership, whether 
        elected or installed by force, including Samuel Doe who led a coup that 
        ousted President William Tolbert in 1980, who in 1985 won the presidency 
        in a contested election and proceeded to form a government in Liberia 
        that was brutal, violent, and highly corrupt;
Whereas in 1989, Charles Taylor, an accused embezzler and United States prison 
        escapee, led an insurrection and fomented a devastating civil war that 
        claimed more than 200,000 Liberian lives, resulted in innumerable and 
        severe human rights abuses, and forced half of the Liberian population 
        to flee as refugees to neighboring countries or to become internally 
        displaced persons within Liberia;
Whereas as a result of mediation and the deployment of a peacekeeping mission by 
        the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the signing of a 
        peace agreement in 1995 and an addendum thereof in 1996, elections were 
        held in 1997 in which Charles Taylor was elected President of Liberia;
Whereas President Charles Taylor and his government failed to effectively pursue 
        postwar national political reconciliation, build institutions, or 
        improve socio-economic post-war conditions, and continued to aid and 
        abet an insurrection against the Government of Sierra Leone by the 
        Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a brutal rebel group known for 
        amputating the limbs of innocent children, which waged a war and 
        prolonged the suffering of Sierra Leoneans until January 2002;
Whereas President Taylor and officials within his government profited openly 
        from the illicit trade in ``blood diamonds'', despoiled the tropical 
        forests of Liberia by unsustainably and indiscriminately harvesting 
        their timber for private gain, corrupted and provided military training, 
        arms, and safe haven to RUF members, and employed them as members of one 
        of his numerous violent security forces, most notably the Anti-Terrorist 
        Unit;
Whereas the Taylor regime disrespected the rule of law, repressed the 
        independent press, created an atmosphere of public intimidation, 
        operated an administration with little or no accountability or 
        transparency, harassed and imprisoned civil society leaders, and 
        routinely violated human rights;
Whereas ongoing civil war and unrest in Liberia have devastated the country's 
        economy, social fabric, and the livelihoods of its people, leaving 
        Liberians with a ruined economy and barely functioning physical 
        infrastructure, few resources or the basic necessities to maintain life, 
        and an insolvent government regarded as a pariah by many states;
Whereas immediate emergency food assistance to the people of Liberia is urgently 
        needed to meet the basic nutritional sustenance of its people, 
        especially mothers and children, to relieve the extreme physical 
        suffering of the people of Liberia, including their rapidly increasing 
        susceptibility to diseases, including cholera, dysentery, HIV/AIDS, and 
        high rates of maladies such as malaria, acute respiratory infection, 
        fever, anaemia, and pneumonia, and to assist internally displaced 
        persons and refugees to return to their homes and native countries;
Whereas there are 9 percent of Liberians living with HIV/AIDS in a country with 
        a population of only 3,288,198 and 13,000 Liberians die annually from 
        HIV/AIDS complications;
Whereas 157 out of every 1,000 infants die annually, the under 5 mortality rate 
        is 235 per 1,000 births, and the life expectancy is only 51.4 years in 
        Liberia;
Whereas the unemployment rate in Liberia is 80 percent in the formal sector and 
        only 15 percent of Liberians are literate;
Whereas Liberia is among the countries most richly endowed with natural 
        resources in Africa, with enormous tropical forests which, if preserved, 
        may be directed toward building Liberia's economy through natural 
        resource management and trade;
Whereas an end to the civil war, and enhanced stability in Liberia through 
        improved security will lead to stability within the surrounding West 
        African sub-region; and
Whereas United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on the United 
        States to contribute to a multinational stabilization force, including 
        ECOWAS troops, to work toward bringing peace to Liberia: Now, therefore, 
        be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That Congress--
            (1) commends the Economic Community of West African States 
        (ECOWAS) for successfully negotiating and signing in Accra, 
        Ghana, on June 17, 2003, the ``Agreement on Ceasefire and 
        Cessation of Hostilities Between the Government of the Republic 
        of Liberia and Liberians United for Reconciliation and 
        Democracy and the Movement for Democracy of Liberia'' 
        (hereinafter referred to as the ``Ceasefire Agreement''), an 
        accord that is critical to ending the conflict in Liberia, 
        bringing peace to the surrounding countries, and establishing 
        an environment in West Africa conducive to the maintenance of 
        regional security, political stability, democracy and 
        governance, the observation of human rights, and the pursuit of 
        economic growth, development and trade;
            (2) commends the Parties to the Ceasefire Agreement, 
        including ECOWAS, the Republic of Ghana, the United Nations 
        Peace-Building Support Office in Liberia, the African Union 
        (AU), and the members of the International Contact Group on 
        Liberia (ICGL) for consistent and sustained efforts during the 
        course of the negotiations to bring the parties to the final 
        agreement;
            (3) commends the Liberian civil society and Liberian 
        communities in exile for continuing to strive for peace and 
        democracy in their country and for sustaining families unable 
        to survive economically under President Taylor's corrupt regime 
        with financial remittances and for steadfast advocacy for their 
        country;
            (4) calls on all parties to the Ceasefire Agreement to 
        refrain from committing, aiding, abetting, or permitting, any 
        acts in violation of the Agreement;
            (5) forcefully calls on the parties to facilitate and 
        support the sustained delivery of humanitarian relief supplies 
        throughout the country, ensure the safety and freedom of 
        movement of all humanitarian workers throughout the Liberian 
        territory, abide by the timetable set forth in the Ceasefire 
        Agreement, and to move swiftly toward inclusive, national, 
        political reconciliation by forming a transitional national 
        government;
            (6) calls on President Charles Taylor to implement his June 
        4, 2003, statement that he would seek ``a national unity 
        government immediately'' and be willing to remove himself from 
        power in the interest of transition to peace for the Liberian 
        people;
            (7) commends the Special Court for Sierra Leone for its 
        work to bring justice to the people of Sierra Leone who 
        suffered unspeakable harm as a result of the vicious civil war 
        sponsored by President Charles Taylor and that was fueled by 
        the trade in ``conflict diamonds'';
            (8) calls upon the United States Government--
                    (A) to assume a leadership role in the 
                international community through its membership in the 
                International Contact Group for Liberia to help guide 
                the Ceasefire Agreement and subsequent peace agreement, 
                political transition and establishment of a sustainable 
                democracy with good governance, and economic 
                reconstruction processes;
                    (B) to play a strong and proactive role in 
                supporting the Ceasefire Agreement and peace and 
                reconciliation initiatives in furtherance of an 
                enduring solution to the on-going crisis in Liberia 
                through an all-inclusive process for these purposes, 
                including--
                            (i) the cantonment of militants, and their 
                        disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration 
                        (``DDR'') into society;
                            (ii) the establishment as a matter of 
                        priority in the DDR process, of programs to 
                        meet the special needs of former child 
                        soldiers, including girls, paying particular 
                        attention to their psychological, social, and 
                        educational needs, and consult with all 
                        organizations available to determine the best 
                        methods for achieving this result;
                            (iii) to support civil society 
                        reconciliation initiatives that seek to improve 
                        capacity of grassroots and nongovernmental 
                        organizations in Liberia to promote conflict 
                        resolution and restore civil order; and
                            (iv) to support the role of civil society 
                        in the peace process, particularly women and 
                        the most vulnerable citizens, and in the 
                        reconstruction and future of Liberia;
            (9) calls upon the Secretary of State--
                    (A) to take a lead role in collaboration with 
                ECOWAS in negotiating the establishment of the Joint 
                Verification Team established by the Ceasefire 
                Agreement;
                    (B) to provide leadership and participate in 
                negotiations to establish the Joint Monitoring 
                Committee to supervise the ceasefire along with 
                representatives from the parties, as well as 
                representatives from the United Nations, the AU, and 
                the ICGL, to which the United States is party; and
                    (C) together with the United Nations, ECOWAS, and 
                the AU, to establish and deploy an International 
                Stabilization Force that will initially monitor the 
                peace agreement between the parties and provide 
                security for humanitarian relief efforts, and 
                subsequently, through protocols and a mode of 
                operations to be determined, monitor Liberia's borders, 
                to prevent the trans-border passage of arms and 
                unauthorized persons;
            (10) calls upon the Secretary of Defense to--
                    (A) provide military experts, personnel, logistical 
                support, equipment and funds as necessary to support 
                the Joint Verification Team;
                    (B) provide financial, logistical, personnel, and 
                technical support, and to participate in, as necessary, 
                the Joint Monitoring Committee; and
                    (C) play a lead role in creating and deploying an 
                international stabilization force to Liberia.
            (11) calls on the United States Agency for International 
        Development (USAID) to--
                    (A) commit to providing humanitarian assistance to 
                the people of Liberia to save lives, alleviate 
                suffering, and mitigate the impact of the emergency 
                situations emerging from the war, including providing 
                emergency food, supplies, and commodities;
                    (B) focus on the most vulnerable populations, 
                including internally displaced persons and war-affected 
                persons in Monrovia; and
                    (C) coordinate relief efforts with national and 
                international nongovernmental organizations and other 
                donors;
            (12) calls on the international community to--
                    (A) support humanitarian efforts to meet the urgent 
                and dire needs of the Liberian people, and to consult 
                and cooperate closely with the appropriate Liberian 
                leaders and civil society representatives as well as 
                other governments and international organizations 
                participating in rehabilitation and reconstruction 
                efforts and significantly incorporate their views into 
                the policymaking process;
                    (B) to support efforts that advance the development 
                of democratic civil institutions in Liberia and support 
                the establishment of a broad-based and fully 
                representative government, in which all Liberians, 
                without regard to their ethnicity, race, religion, or 
                gender, can participate; and
                    (C) to assist in the establishment of a government 
                that respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity, 
                and political independence of its neighbors;
            (13) calls upon Liberian indigenous private and voluntary 
        organizations active in local grassroots rehabilitation, 
        reconstruction, and development efforts and Liberians living 
        overseas to engage fully in the international efforts to help 
        restore Liberia as a viable country in which present and future 
        generations can live peacefully;
            (14) calls upon the United Nations--
                    (A) to provide peacekeeping troops for such time as 
                necessary to enforce the Ceasefire Agreement, protect 
                humanitarian efforts, and maintain a stable 
                transitional environment; and
                    (B) to provide adequate repatriation packages for 
                refugees and resettlement packages for internally 
                displaced persons that include food sufficient to meet 
                international nutritional standards, household items, 
                materials for temporary shelter, inputs for farming for 
                household consumption and income, and grants to pay the 
                cost of transportation for relocation; and
            (15) urges the President to report regularly to Congress on 
        progress being made by all parties toward the full 
        implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement.
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