New York - Despite the devastating Ebola outbreak in Liberia, the United Nations is not seeing signs of deteriorating security in the country and some public authorities are even showing strength after years of post-civil war rebuilding, the UN peacekeeping chief said on Wednesday.
Two wars between 1989 and 2003 killed about 250 000 people and led to a complete collapse of the country. The UN peacekeepers were deployed to Liberia in 2003, and at least 6 000 troops and police are currently there.
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"There is some good news in the midst of this serious crisis. We are no longer seeing signs that security could seriously deteriorate, which was our fear in late August and early September," Herve Ladsous told the UN Security Council.
He said some areas of strength had been shown by public institutions such as local level officials responding to the current challenges and providing an opportunity for the decentralization of services.
Ladsous also cited a demand by Liberia's human rights commission for accountability over the actions of Liberian troops in quelling Ebola quarantine protests in August. He described it as "an important opportunity to enhance democratic oversight of the security forces."
"These are goals we have been seeking for years, and for which we observed there was a concerning lack of urgency to achieve," Ladsous said of the strengthened public authorities.
Liberia has been the country hardest-hit by the worst outbreak of Ebola on record, which has killed more than 5 000 people since it was detected in the remote forest region of neighbouring Guinea in March.
"Even at such a difficult juncture, there is an opportunity to mobilise the urgency required for transformation. And, we must encourage the people and Government of Liberia to seize this opportunity, not only in addressing the immediate crisis, but also in rebuilding post-Ebola," Ladsous said.