Fetol Siakor, Director for Complaints, Investigation and Monitoring at the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), has challenged Liberians to have trust and confidence in the commission by taking complaints on human rights violations to the entity instead of taking the law into their own hands.
Siakor said failure of individuals to follow the orders of appropriate authorities can sometimes lead to violence or conflict in society that undermines growth and development.
He wants the public to feel free and comfortable when taking issues that affect them individually or collectively to the commission for proper redress to avoid taking the law in their hands.
Siakor was concluding a one day multi-stakeholder dialogue on ‘Complaints Handling Mechanisms’ which the commission hosted in Monrovia over the weekend.
Complaints on human rights violations, or anyone claiming to have been victimized, should seek redress through the INCHR’s offices in any of the 15 counties where its monitors or investigators are assigned, Director Siakor urged.
He wants ‘justice actors’ and representatives of other legal institutions to collaborate with the INCHR in addressing reports of human rights violations, adding that without collective effort, the fight against human rights violations or other crimes will not be achieved.
The acting chairperson of the commission, Attorney Bartholomew B. Colley, stressed the need for more independent and professional work at various institutions responsible for human rights-related issues across the country.
“We are all working together for the common good of our country. Human rights issues are everybody’s business and all institutions, including political offices, should always have it at heart that we need to protect the rights of each other, mainly the underprivileged who continue to feel marginalized on the basis of the way governance is shaped,” Atty. Colley said.
INHCR should be considered as everybody’s stopping point for human rights issues, and the public should rest assured of the commission’s support and preparedness to ensure their cases are treated with due diligence.
The Friday dialogue brought together representatives from government ministries, agencies and personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia, officers of the Liberia National Police, and corrections officers representing the Ministry of Justice.
Other participants included officers from the Liberia Immigration Service, civil society organizations and the United Nations.