“Increased Violation of Rights, Rule of Law”

Cllr. Dempster Brown.

“Increased Violation of Rights, Rule of Law”

...New INCHR chair disclosed

The Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Cllr. Dempster Brown has raised alarm over the increasing human rights violation and disrespect for the rule of law across the country.

Cllr. Dempster Brown made the remarks at a ceremony marking his and the Commissioners’ induction on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, at the INCHR’s office in Monrovia. Cllr. Brown, in his acceptance statement, said the Commission will ensure that the rights of the Liberian people and foreign residents are protected, especially the rights of women and children as well as the disabled.

According to Cllr. Brown, discrimination against the disabled will be prevented because the disabled have the right to life which includes job opportunities. Cllr. Brown also raised concerns about gender-based violence, rape, and sexual harassment in every sector of society, including workplaces and schools.

“The Commission is concerned about the disappearances and mysterious deaths of peaceful citizens including the brutalizing of peaceful citizens by State security. Last week, we received information from Grand Cape Mount about the disappearance of one Hawa and Mulbah Kunyon, and up to present their whereabouts are unknown,” said Cllr. Brown.

He said the Commission has observed, in the past and present, State Security conducts investigations about these incidents but findings are not made available. He, therefore, assured that the Commission will engage partners for funding to train INCHR’s monitors to enable them to conduct transparent investigations.

“We will educate our people on the effects of early childhood marriage which is associated with rape, child labor, child trafficking and the negative effects of the compromising of rape cases based on cultural practices. We will seek funding to conduct workshops for the police and other members of the State security as well as judicial officials,” Cllr. Brown said.

Cllr. Brown emphasized that INCHR’s monitors’ reports revealed that human rights violation is in every sector of the society because of the disrespect for the rule of law. Yesterday’s program brought together different actors, including representatives of the United States Embassy, European Union Delegation to Liberia, Embassy of Ireland, Chairperson House Committee on Human and Civil Rights, local and international partners, and civil society actors.

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, said the EU is founded on a shared determination to promote peace and stability and to build a world founded on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Amb. Delahousse said the EU has been on the side of Liberia for many years supporting respect for human rights in all the fields of cooperation.

“Gender equality and women’s rights are, as we know, part of the fundamental human rights. In Liberia, we are – together with our Member States, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and France – supporting Liberian women, men, girls and boys in various ways to change patriarchal norms and behaviors, to enhance women economic empowerment, and increase women participation and representation in decision-making and leadership positions,” Amb. Delahousse said.

According to him, through the Spotlight Initiative program, EU is committed even further in this quest of promoting gender equality and preventing sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage. 

Amb. Delahousse said the Spotlight Initiative, the INCHR and other key institutions including Law Reform Commission, the Legislative Drafting Bureau, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Gender, Children and social protection and civil society organizations have gained knowledge on how to review and amend policies and legislations in compliance with human rights standards in accordance with gender responsive and human rights based approach. 

“We continue to promote the observance of international humanitarian law; we will fight vigorously against impunity for serious crimes of concern to the international community,” Amb. Delahousse indicated. He said the EU’s efforts would be in vain without the strong support and growing numbers of active organizations here in Liberia, stressing that “Women organizations are present on the ground and fighting daily for their rights.”