‘Mob Violence Remains a Significant Challenge’

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The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Madam Karen Landgren, has said the issue of mob violence in the country remains a significant challenge.

SRSG Langren disclosed that the prevalence of mob violence and vigilantism continued to demonstrate the weaknesses of and lack of public confidence in the justice institutions of Liberia.

She made these comments when she presented the 27th progress report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

Madam Langren noted that these forms of violence—mob violence and vigilantism— continue to test the quick response capacity of security institutions in the country.

The UNMIL boss said, “Mob violence remains a significant challenge, while reports of sexual violence remain high, with 15 percent of reported incidents involving children under the age of 10.”

“Since my last report, 37 incidences of mob violence were reported, with nine occurring so far in 2014,” she added.

 According to the report, “The police, though with a limited presence and mobility, were on some occasions overwhelmed by large crowds and required intervention by UNMIL to restore order and protect civilians.”

In a November 2013 Study, UNMIL reported a 44 percent increase in incidents of mob violence over a five-month period in 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.

 Madam Landgren continued saying the study also indicated that mobs had become more violent and volatile, prompting increased police intervention with lethal force.

This was attributed to the human rights situation; with the justice system being seen as slow to create a protective environment for civilians.

“Notwithstanding some progress, limitations persisted in gaining access to justice and basic services, and efforts have been slow to create a protective environment for civilians,” the report revealed.

The SRSG further stated  in her report that , “In December, the Ministry of Justice launched a five-year national human rights action plan to promote compliance with human rights standards and incorporating a national strategy for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which had been validated in September, 2013.

“A national strategy for fulfilling the human rights obligations of Liberia, including treaty ratification, is being validated by the Ministry of Justice,” Madam Landgren concluded.

Giving an overview of the entire security situation in Liberia, SRSG said the Security situation remained generally stable, though fragile.

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