In the Wake of UNMIL Departure, RHRAP Rallies for Effective CJS

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Lorma Baysah, Executive Director of the Rural Human Right Activists’ Program (RHRAP) has called on national and international non-governmental organizations in the criminal justice system sector to consolidate and promote an effective criminal justice system (CJS) in the country.

Mr. Baysah said when stakeholders in the CJS consolidate their efforts it would contribute to addressing some of the democratic deficits, especially at a time when Liberian security apparatuses are to take over the security of the state from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in June.

“We need to come together now as Civil Society Organization (CSO) groups in the CJS sector for effectiveness and efficiency. This is imperative now as UNMIL will be out of this country by June this year,” he said recently in Bong County.

He has therefore called for closer coordination among stakeholders in the sector to ensure effectiveness.

RHRAP recently hosted a series of forums in Gbarnga, Zenzue and Palala, all in Bong County.

According to Baysah, hosting these events was an effort aimed at educating residents on the importance of the country’s criminal justice system.
The forums were organized under the theme, “The Criminal Justice Highway with Regards to Arrest and Detention.”

Those who attended were members of the Citizens’ Action Committees (CAC), a group organized by RHRAP.

The CAC comprises members of community representative councils including zonal heads, traditional leaders, town and clan chiefs, and youth and women groups from various communities that also participated in the forums.

He said members of the CAC are also involved in various activities aimed at promoting the rule of law, peace building, including alternative dispute resolution that contributes to a peaceful environment.

During the various forums, according to RHRAP, residents called on the security apparatus to prioritize adequate training for immediate intervention in any eventuality, before UNMIL finally pulls out of Liberia.

“They also acknowledged that there is less presence of police in the county, and moreover the police are not armed to combat the high wave of crimes,” RHRAP said in a release.

They, however, said the presence of a joint security regional security hub in Gbarnga was helping by intervening in potential crises, but still needs additional resources to enhance their movement.

Community residents through the CAC are further proposing that they should be empowered to embark upon community policing initiatives that will help buttress government’s effort to sustain peace.

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