Tina S. Mehnpaine
The Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS to Liberia, Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, has challenged the Liberian Government to take practical steps to defend and respect international protocols about human rights to which Liberia is a signatory.
Throwing the challenge out to the and civil society organizations at the celebration of World Human Rights Day, Ambassador Ajisomo called on National Human Rights Institutions and authorities of the government of Liberia, which serve as duty bearer for promoting and protecting human rights for benefit of the rights holders (the citizens), to take practical measures in the implementation of relevant provisions of conventions, protocols and international legal framework aimed at promoting and protecting human rights and persons with disabilities.
“The importance of the right to education in the promotion of economic development cannot be overemphasized. It is, therefore, necessary for member states of ECOWAS to take steps to promote education, human rights and help people with disabilities access and participate in the economic endeavors of their countries, their ability to obtain education and access would benefit from relevant laws To enable people with disability to be economically empowered,” he said.
The celebration also focused on respecting the rights of the people, people with disabilities, refugees, human rights and fundamental freedom.
Ambassador Ajisomo also commended former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for becoming the only female to attain the position as Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of States of the ECOWAS Commission.
In her remark at the event, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said it is important that all persons, regardless of their status, enjoy their fundamental rights, adding that it was due to these challenges during her presidency that she signed an executive order mandating elementary education to be free and compulsory for all.
“I thank the ECOWAS authority for the recognition that they have granted on this day by being able to call it Human Rights Day that is celebrated in Africa and other parts of the World. Thousands were left with a physical handicap as a result of the war, and I am proud to report that Liberia was able to pull itself on the road to recovery, and as of now Liberia has enjoyed 16 years of uninterrupted peace,” said the former president.
Liberia joined neighboring countries on Thursday, January 16, to celebrate the 4th annual ECOWAS Human Rights Day held at the ministerial complex in Monrovia under the Theme “Ensuring the Rights to Education for the Physically Challenged, Refugees or Stateless Persons and Returnees.”
Dr. Laurence K. Bropleh, Special Envoy and Advisor to President George Weah, said at the event that people with disabilities should be called “differently able” because they too can use their one hand or leg to do something better than those with two hands and two legs.