INCHR Catalogues Liberia’s ‘Latest’ Human Rights Violations

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INCHR Acting Commissioner Bartholomew B. Colley

Authorities of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) of Liberia yesterday, August 7, 2018, released its 2017 Human Rights Situation Report, published in June this year.

The report, according to a press statement, has been released in fulfillment of its statutory mandate and obligation as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

Accordingly, the report spotlights and describes a range of human rights violations and abuses that characterized the period of 2017, under the broad thematic areas of Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Rights of Marginalized Groups and Key Population.

The human rights violations and abuses highlighted in the report include arbitrary deprivation of life through mob violence, torture, forced disappearance, pretrial detention as a main source of overpopulation of prisons; deplorable prison conditions, child trafficking and domestic servitude; judicial corruption that undermines the tenets of fair trial; and the ineffectiveness of the rights to health, education and land.

The report also speaks on government’s inaction relative to some of those violations and abuses.

However, the report has appraised the government as having demonstrated strong commitment to the upholding and protection of certain basic freedoms during the period in review. They include freedom of thought, conscience and religion; freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of association, assembly and movement.

The report has advanced a total of 27 recommendations to the government, that the Liberia National Police (LNP) must bring an officer of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Lawrence Zeon, and LNP Officer Alex Kawea, to justice for the death of Lawson Ninneh, who was allegedly tortured to death in police holding cell in Grand Gedeh County; that the government must step-up efforts to locate the living body of little RB and her child, and further on the prosecution of Morias Waylee who denied her existence; the government must improve human rights training at the LNP Academy, and apply human rights standards in police supervision and promotion; that the government should improve supervision to ensure that LNP depots across the country are respecting their constitutional obligation not to detain a suspect beyond 48 hours.

The report, signed by INCHR Executive Director, Herron S. Gbidi, further calls on the government to increase budgetary support to health and education, to ensure realization of the rights to these basic social services.

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