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Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Project

After gaining experience through work with truth and reconciliation commissions in Peru and Sierra Leone, The Advocates for Human Rights collaborated directly with the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to develop a new model for involving diaspora populations in the truth and reconciliation process. For this historic project, The Advocates organized statement taking across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana and held public hearings for Liberians in the diaspora . The Advocates’ final report to the TRC, A House with Two Rooms, was submitted at the TRC’s National Conference on Reconciliation and Healing in Virginia, Liberia in June 2009. This 600 page report documents the experience of the Liberian diaspora during the period of Liberia's tragic civil conflict. It is based on an analysis of more than 1600 statements, fact-finding interviews, and witness testimony collected by The Advocates for Human Rights during three years of work with the Liberian diaspora in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana.

The Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Project was launched by The Advocates for Human Rights on June 22, 2006. The project gave Liberians in the diaspora a role in promoting international justice and human rights as part of the truth and reconciliation process in Liberia. Under a Memorandum of Understanding with Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The Advocates coordinated the work of more than 800 volunteers to collect statements from Liberian refugees in the U.S., U.K. and Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana. The Advocates did not receive any funding from the TRC of Liberia. The TRC Commissioners traveled to the U.S. to hold a week of public hearings, hosted by The Advocates and Hamline University, in June of 2008. The Advocates plans to continue working with Liberians in both Liberia and the diaspora to monitor implementation of the TRC’s recommendations to the Liberian government so as to ensure peace and prevent future human rights abuses. Additionally, The Advocates will pursue U.S. foreign and domestic policies that encourage the peace process and the rebuilding of Liberia and that protect refugees currently living within the United States.

Leymah Gbowee, Liberian Women's Rights Activist, talks in March, 2010 about one way The Advocates' report to the TRC is being used in Liberia: