Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Truth and Reconciliation Findings Lead to Liberian Palava Hut Program

Formerly the dean of the law school and a vice chancellor of the University of New Brunswick, Dr. Jeremy Levitt now serves as a distinguished professor of international law at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando. A respected authority on foreign affairs, Dr. Jeremy Levitt was appointed to Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the 24th president of Liberia and Africa’s first female head of state.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) was established in 2005 to investigate human rights violations that occurred in the country between 1979 and 2003. These violations included abhorrent acts such as massacres, sexual crimes, and murder, and the Commission was tasked with identifying the parties responsible for the crimes and assessing the overall impact they had on victims.

In 2009, the TRC issued its final report, which identified systematic patterns of abuse and outlined recommendations to ensure accountability and just reparations. One of the Commission’s recommendations was to establish a National Palava Hut Program to promote peace and reconciliation in Liberia through community dialogue. In 2013, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf officially established Liberia’s Palava Hut Program, which continues to play a part in helping Liberians overcome their past and work toward a more stable future.