chapter  16
Development and Its Discontents: Ending Violence against Women in Post-Confl ict Liberia
Pages 15

Liberia is an excellent case study to explore development initiatives to end sexual violence against women in confl ict and post-confl ict countries. In 2005, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia, thus becoming the fi rst elected female head of state in Africa. Her election followed a very long and damaging civil war (1989-2003) in which sexual violence against women was widespread. 2 The peace process that ended the war made addressing women’s rights in post-confl ict Liberia a matter of international and local concern. Security Council Resolution 1509 (2003), which established the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), “deplor[ed] all violations of human rights, particularly atrocities against civilian populations, including widespread sexual violence against women and children.” Explicitly addressing what it called “the special needs of child combatants and women,” Security Council Resolution 1509 also established a gender-frame for peacekeeping. It reaffi rmed “the importance of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations and post-confl ict peace-building in accordance with resolution 1325 (2000), recalled the need to address violence against women and girls as a tool of warfare, and encouraged UNMIL as well as the Liberian parties to actively address these issues” (SCR 1509, no. 11).