Challenges to policy and practice in the disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and rehabilitation of youth combatants in Liberia
Following the end to Liberia’s 14-year civil war in 2003, the current challenge is to successfully resettle and reintegrate its displaced population. Central to this, and essential in terms of long-term peace and sustainable development, will be the disarmament, demobilisation, reintegration and rehabilitation (DDRR) of young ex-combatants. If the DDRR programme is to be a success in Liberia, there must be a clear understanding as to why young people have chosen to join armed groups in the first place, and these issues must be addressed through the DDRR programme in order to prevent re-recruitment. Furthermore, although targeted opportunities may be appropriate in the short-term during disarmament and demobilisation; a nontargeted community based model of reintegration and rehabilitation, as advocated in the resettlement of IDPs and refugees, will have the most success with reference to the long-term reconciliation and security of Liberia’s war-affected population.