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Carter Center Launches Local Dispute Management Program in Liberia

For Immediate Release

In Atlanta: Deborah Hakes, +001 404-420-5124
In Monrovia: John Hummel, +231 (0)6 452 022
or Pewee Flomoku, +231 (0)6 516 232

Monrovia…The Carter Center is launching an 18-month USAID-funded project to strengthen the capacity of Liberia's local indigenous leaders to manage local disputes, as well as to provide the officers of the National Traditional Council enhanced ability to respond to major disputes. The project is implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Traditional Council.

On May 17, in Gbarnga, Central Liberia, The Carter Center will launch the project with a weeklong alternative dispute resolution training for officials, indigenous leaders, women, and youth. The project will train local leaders in five target counties: Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Maryland, and Margibi.

"Building a working and responsive justice system requires active participation by citizens at all levels," said Carter Center Associate Director for Conflict Resolution Tom Crick. "This collaboration will strengthen the capacity of local institutions to address local problems before they escalate and give national leaders new skills with which to help government respond to problems as they arise."

Among other dignitaries, the opening ceremony will be attended by The Honorable Harrison S. Karnwea, minister of Internal Affairs; Dr. Othello Brandy, chairman of the Land Commission; The Honorable Mardea T. Chenoweth, Bong County circuit court judge: The Honorable Charles Fahnlon King, Bong County land commissioner; The Honorable Renny Jackson, Bong County superintendent; The Honorable Juli Endee, cultural ambassador and traditional queen, The Republic of Liberia.

The more than 50 participants will include members of the National Traditional Council, traditional leaders from the five target counties, local and national Ministry of Internal Affairs officials, as well as women and youth leaders. The training will be conducted by an expert member of the U.N. Mediation Response Unit from New York, along with Carter Center staff and officials. The training will explore current challenges facing local leadership and discuss a range of alternative dispute resolution options to help analyze and address local disputes. In addition, the training will provide specific guidance on the laws governing land and other local-level disputes. Following the training, the project will provide ongoing logistics and training support to local leaders by county dispute monitors based in the target counties.

Liberia continues to make good progress in re-establishing the rule of law since the civil war ended in 2003. However, studies show that the majority of Liberians access justice primarily through local, non-state sources on a day-to-day basis. As part of a larger Access to Justice project (, The Carter Center has worked since 2006 with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to strengthen formal systems of justice, educate citizens on their rights, and to strengthen indigenous dispute resolution capacity in ways consistent with the law. Following a 15-county consultation on the rule of law with traditional leaders in 2009, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Traditional Council asked The Carter Center for help to strengthen the capacity of local leaders to resolve disputes, consistent with the law, as an important means of maintaining and building the peace throughout the country.


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.

In Liberia, the Center is currently working with the government and people to strengthen formal and informal justice systems in order to provide greater access to justice for all Liberians. More information can be found at:

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