African Bar Association President challenges Liberian Lawyers
The President of the African Bar Association (ABA) yesterday challenged Liberian lawyers to ensure that the government respects all national and international legal instruments on the protection of the child.
“You cannot sit as lawyers and allow a child to be raped without demanding from the government to act immediately in line with your laws that protect children’s rights,” Hannibal E. Unaifo admonished the lawyers.
Unaifo is in the country as a guest of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA). He made the statement when he visited the office of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL).
His trip to Liberia is to encourage lawyers to compel state actors to uphold the rights of every child and woman.“I am also here to ensure that you demand the protection of women’s rights,” Unaifo added.
“There are laws in your country to protect children and women, but it is not effective because your lawmakers are only interested in the enforcement component of the law that will make them to get more money in return.
“We have to make demands on their behalf so that state actors can respect a child’s rights; and therefore, we can achieve that goal only if we all work together,” the ABA president emphasized.
Addressing female lawyers, Unaifo said, “You must make yourselves relevant as lawyers and not appear as those in captivity. You have to protect the disadvantaged children and women that they may know their rights and make demands for it.”
Unaifo assured the female lawyers about the preparedness of his administration to work with them in achieving the rights women and children deserve.
Attorney Nadia Kamara, AFELL’s vice president, said they have been advocating for the rights of children and women in the country.
“We have instituted lawsuits against the fathers, who have allegedly abandoned their children, to the point where some of them are now supporting kids they had abandoned. But with your support, we can do more to improve on what we have been doing,” Atty. Kamara pleaded.
“We are committed to issues relating to children and women in our country by making efforts to be on par with other African countries,” she stated.
LNBA president Moses Paegar said the visit will accord Liberia the opportunity to reintegrate into the ABA, having been absent for several years as part of that legal body.
“The visit will help us to discuss how we can harmonize and standardize the laws in every member country,” Cllr. Paegar stated.
The team also visited Justices of the Supreme Court, the Liberia Law Reform Commission and the Ministry of Justice.