-Says INCHR Commissioner Colley
The Acting chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Bartholomew B. Colley, said Liberia doesn’t need a regime security but a professional security that is committed to protecting the state and its citizens.
Colley made the statement on Thursday, September 6, in Monrovia during the validation of the baseline study report for the structural provision of human rights education to authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP).
“We need to organize ourselves. We don’t want a regime security. You can’t have a regime, but professional, security in Liberia, like any other country; people who have commitment, are patriotic to their country, and are professional in their areas,” Mr. Colley said.
To achieve this, he said, Liberia needs security apparatuses that are well taken care of, and not just wearing the uniforms and moving around the country.
“Security needs to be well taken care of, but if you violate anyone’s rights, we will put the friendship aside and comer after you. We will not shut our mouths, and must remain clear here,” he said.
According to Mr. Colley, the Commission wants to see a society that is safe for everyone and conscious of the existence of human rights as seen in other parts of the world. We want to get back to our people through various platforms, because human rights is everyone’s business, he added.
“Promotion of human rights must be thought of as education for both the rights holders and those who provide it,” he said.
He said that the INCHR is charged with the responsibility to protect any human rights-related issue across the country, in spite of the many challenges faced by the Commission.
INCHR executive director, Herron S. Gbidi, said the police play a pivotal role in protecting human rights and, as such, government and partners must fully support the officers.
“Now if the police have such huge responsibilities, we must be concerned how they deliver their services in the absence of support. We think that the police are the front-liners in the protection of human rights,” Mr. Gbidi said.
According to him, the Constitution also calls on the government to promote and protect human rights, a position or mandate that must not be taken lightly by anyone.
“When someone beats on your child, you will first run to the police, which means that they are protecting your human rights, and their function is very huge,” he said.
The police, he said, is a natural partner to human rights advocacy, “and so we must realize that we will not be able to do our work in the absence of them.
According to Gbidi, “the law says we should be able to protect human rights across the country, but we don’t have such capacity to effectively do our work.”
He added, “We want to ensure that we position ourselves to be on the preventive side of violation. In order to be proactive, we have to provide education for all our stakeholders, especially those who have the duty to protect the citizenry.
“We rights holders must also know our rights. We have a huge task, if we will want to engage into human rights protection or prevention. We are going to be operating through formal institutions, including schools, military academies, to be able to channel human rights education,” he said.
He added that the Commission has to be able to provide human rights education at the Liberia National Police Academy in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.