“INCHR, CSOs Need Powerful Voice to Champion Human Rights Issues”

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Participants posed with the various speakers

Says UN Human Rights Officer

The Human Rights Officer of the United Nations Human Rights section in Liberia, Melvin Nyanway, wants Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) to collaborate and form a stronger and powerful voice to effectively protect and promote human rights issues.

He said working together as a team helps improve productivity that would see Liberia’s human rights sector get on par with international standards.

Mr. Nyanway made the remark recently at a one day United Nations Human Rights regional coordination meeting held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

Nyanway said at the end of the exercise, human rights organizations and institutions, including government agencies, will work to foster the protection and promotion of human rights-related issues across the country.

“Our work at the international level is to ensure that CSOs and those concerned in the sector work together as a team, so that our advocacy in promoting and protecting human rights are well structured, and fully organized,” he said.

Nyanway then warned human rights organizations and CSOs to do away with separate advocates aimed at targeting specific groups.

Additionally, Nyanway said his office is working with other institutions to ensure that national institutions including the INCHR work in an independent and trust worthy manner.

“When the citizens trust that your institutions can protect their rights, they will work with you,” he said.

In a move for a better and practical approach, Mr. Nyanway wants a commitment from CSOs to streamline a better strategy to include a clear roadmap on how to work on human rights-related issues in a specific region in a bid to achieve the desired goal of protecting people’s rights.

Herron Gbidi, INCHR Executive Director, said that the training sets the basis for perfect interaction and intervention in the area of human rights in the country.

Gbidi said proper coordination helps achieve the desired results in protecting and promoting human rights.

He encouraged his colleagues to construct proper strategies for the sector, including contributing to find a better path that can help chart a new course to ensure the best result is achieved.

At the same time, Adama Dempster, secretary general of the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform (CSHRAP), wants CSOs to have a link and stronger ties to work together, hoping that it will be cemented and increased through collaboration.

Dempster urged civil society actors to have an increased appetite in doing human rights work, because current situations are challenging. “Let this meeting be used as a kick start of a more engaged process because several other training opportunities are expected on human rights issues and strategies evolving over time,” Mr. Dempster told the gathering.

The focus is to speak out objectively in the face of human rights violations worldwide, act as the UN system’s principal focal point of human rights research, education, public information as well as human rights advocacy activities, including setting standards and monitoring processes and evaluating the human rights situation over time.

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