CSO Wants Gov’t to Heed to Rights Protocols During June 7 Protest

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Mr. Demspter:, "It is essential to secure all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights to the citizens."

The Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform has released the “backing frameworks” that could help provide guidance to protesters for the planned June 7 “peaceful protest.”

A statement released by the advocates late Monday, May 27, 2019, calls on the government to respect the constitutional rights and other human rights protocols that grant rights to the protesters.

While it is meant to remind the government of its obligation, it has over the time been noticed on social media and radio programs that hate messages have been preached and threatening remarks made to create fear and uncertainty in the public.  In fact, others including government officials have sent messages out that the protest may result to war, and that giving credence to it may plunge Liberia into its “dark days.”

In the first count granting right to the protesters, the human rights advocacy group cited Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution which states: “All persons, at all times, in an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble, and consult upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances and to associate fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and other organizations.”

In a related protocol, the group cites Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) to also caution the government to grant protesters the right and to ensure security protection for them.

The UDHR states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas thoughts, any media and regardless of frontiers. In furtherance, the UDHR added Article 20, “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”

Additionally, the group referred the government to the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), which Liberia is also a signatory, noting in Article 19 of that covenant that, “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his/her choice.”

On the basis of Article 19 of the ICCPR, the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform, summarized in principles that the right to protest is the individual and or collective exercise of existing and universally recognized human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to participation in cultural life, the rights to life, privacy, liberty and security of a person and the right to non-discrimination.

The right to protest, according to the group’s secretary-general, Adama K. Demspter, is also essential to securing all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights.

The government was also reminded that protesters should not be prevented, hindered or restricted the right to protest except to the extent allowed by international human rights law.

The state is also urged to take reasonable steps to protect those, who want to exercise their right to protest; including adoption of measures necessary to prevent violations by third parties; and establishing an enabling environment for the full enjoyment of the right to protest, which includes providing effective remedies for violations of all human rights embodied in the right to protest.

Furthermore, the state is urged to protect the right to protest by ratifying and giving effect to all relevant international and regional human rights treaties, through incorporation into their domestic legislations or otherwise; adopting clear legal, regulatory and policy frameworks for the protection of the right to protest, in full compliance with international standards and best practice, and the full and effective participation of civil society and other concerned stakeholders at all stages of their development.

It also provides sufficient safeguards against the violation of the right to protest and for prompt, full, and effective scrutiny of the validity of any restrictions imposed, by an independent court, tribunal or other independent adjudicatory body.

The government is also urged to ensure that effective remedies for violations of the right to protest are available, including redress through criminal and civil law processes, as well as precautionary measures and non-judicial remedies such as those awarded by dedicated regulators and agencies, national human rights institutions and, or ombudspersons.

The state is also reminded to enable the free flow of information relating to protests, including through all types of media, so that everyone can freely impart and receive information about protests before, during and after them.

Additionally, the state is obliged to ensure in its legislation and in practice that, at a minimum; all public authorities and law enforcement provide detailed, accurate and comprehensive information about decision-making relating to protests and policing protests; and that those with an obligation to disclose information must make information available on request, within the time frame specified by law, subject only to limited exceptions prescribed by law and that are necessary to prevent specific, identifiable harm to legitimate interests.

Having provided these provisions and principles, the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform called on the government to adhere to all that it (government) has dedicated itself to subscribe to in the pending protest.

It also called on the organizers of the protest, the Council of Patriots, to provide details about the objectives of the protest in line with international and domestic laws, and must be able to abide by all human rights principles enshrined in the Liberian Constitution and other international protocols to which Liberia is a signatory.

5 COMMENTS

  1. What is the role of the protesters in regards to security of the state and to those that are not part of the protest?

    • The protesters are the beneficiaries of the security apparatus of the state. Unlike the state, they are not tasked with provision of security. Instead, they enjoy the security provided by the state.

      Your question is out of line.

      If a court mandates that you pay child-support, you don’t ask the child for their role in providing the child-support that the court has ordered you to provide for the child. Hopefully, you understand this analogous logic.

  2. I think this author did well in the way he reiterated the points laid out by the CSO as they relate to the articles of the declaration of human rights both under the the Liberian Constitution and the United Nations Human Rights Declaration.

    The essay is thorough, unambiguous, and precisely to the point. It explains what is required on the part of the government, the protesters, and third-party groups.

    In the grand scheme of things, the world will be watching to see if Weah is capable of demonstrating a clean fight and reciprocating political showmanship. The ball lies largely in his court on this matter. He should not forget that for 12 years he relentlessly masterminded demonstrations against the Ellen government.

    Some of Weah’s demonstrations during those years were very incendiary, provocative, and of the most bizarre nature, in that his supporters marched toting coffins as signs of Ellen’s murder; albeit, Ellen endured it. With all her faults, she knew that it would have been duplicitous proclaiming herself as a disciple for peace and yet murdering people who are simply expressing their basic human and constitutional rights.

    Now for a political party which is clamoring to stay in power for 12 years, is this how it will run the show? That for every little demonstration, all the world organizations will have to intervene to make sure that there is no bloodshed? Is this the sign of the CDC’s political maturity? Wow! Wow!

  3. Be mindful and cautious. The CDC is full of “grona boys” who benefit while Pres. Weah is in power. He, himself, have no control over some of their “extreme actions “. Remember, most Liberians are young and grew up in the violence of the civil war. That is why the International Community is concern because for the majority, the youths, they can ” be triggered ” to react violently. So BOTH sides have to implant security mechanisms as well as education on how NOT to respond to “triggers”. Any signs whether implanted intentionally by opposing side will unfortunately meet with “strong and ruthless” government security and military responses. Be mindful and ensure you have key people organizing and monitoring the crowd

  4. Be mindful, be mindful, be mindful…what are you getting at? Were not equally young and robust youth who make up a large percentage of the CDC empire on the streets of Monrovia, inconveniencing other people? Is it now opposition young folks who are feeling the daily pinch of hard times brought on us by this regime, will suddenly ‘go wild and crazy’ and become uncontrollable? Didn’t certain leaders of today’s leadership threatened to make Liberia ‘ungovernable’ for Madam Sirleaf, and wasn’t the while world alarmed at that ‘stupid’ rhetoric?
    So your folks are better trained when it comes to protests than other youth, ehn? Y’all alright.
    I can assure you anything that may trigger trouble or unrest during the June 7 will most definitely be an implantation of the government operatives. This we know of and are watching closely.

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