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Liberia TRC Diaspora Project

The Advocates and the TRC established the Diaspora Project Advisory Committee, comprised of Liberians from across the United States to advise and guide the process. The Advocates also partnered with Liberian community organizations in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ghana to create a process that would be as accessible as possible for Liberians in the diaspora.

Statement-taking sites includes Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, D.C.; New York City, New York; Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; and the United Kingdom. The TRC also asked The Advocates to assist with statement-taking in the West African sub-region, specifically the Buduburam refugee settlement near Accra, Ghana. More than 20 of The Advocates' volunteers traveled to document the statements of refugees in Ghana. TRC Diaspora Project volunteers worked alongside TRC staff and Liberian refugees who had been trained as statement-takers.

The Advocates worked with the TRC and Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota to host the first ever public hearings of a national truth commission in the diaspora in June 2008.

As a result, The Advocates documented TRC statements from more than 1600 Liberians in the diaspora and recorded testimony from more than 20 witnesses at public hearings.

The project was also one of the first truth commissions to systematically engage pro bono volunteers—more than 600—as statement takers, researchers, outreach workers, and to support witnesses. Pro bono volunteers included law firms, law school clinics, and other community organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) willing to work on a voluntary basis, receiving no funding from either the TRC or The Advocates.

Volunteers were extensively trained.