Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform (CSO Platform) with support from the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) has launched a technical working group to monitor the human rights perspective of COVID-19.
Adama K. Dempster, CSO Platform Secretary-General, during the launch told journalists that the technical working group will conduct an independent assessment on the national level response in the management of the COVID-19 crisis from a human rights perspective across the country.
Dempster said the technical working group will use the human rights framework within the context of the management of COVID-19 pandemic through the medium of emergency powers and rights limitation, government obligations under regional and international human rights laws.
“On the basis of the human rights community intervention, the technical working group-COVID-19 is tasked to monitor, investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the livelihood of citizens including the economic, social aspect before and during the state of emergency and after the state of emergency in Liberia,” he said.
Dempster said a monitoring template has been developed to guide all human rights officers in the field to report weekly and how to receive complaints from the public on human rights issues within communities.
He indicated that the field workers in the 15 counties will report weekly on violations of fundamental freedoms; prolonged arrest and detention; Torture, undue restrictions on freedom of expression, and assembly reprisal speech indictment to the violation.
Others include monitoring of the decongestion of persons in detention facilities; monitoring of the protection of health care workers and humanitarian personnel, food distribution, and the administration of justice and accountability.
Dempster said the technical working group will also focus on-court action against citizens who violated the State of emergency, and if there are laws on the book to charge or issue tickets to vehicles to pay a certain amount of money to government revenue.
Ebai Emetine, who represented OHCHR Country representative, Uchenna Emelonye, said to ensure the government’s compliance, the national human rights watchdog in Liberia will monitor, document, and report any human rights violations and acknowledge government’s compliance to human rights obligation during the period.
She said CSO Platform being an important partner to OHCHR who often reminds the state on their obligation to respect and protect human rights will provide solutions for recovery from a human rights lens.
Emetine said Liberia has won the fight against EBOLA in the past, and it will once again win the battle against COVID-19 through the same spirit of oneness and solidarity.
Francis S. Kollie, CSO Platform board chairman in a remark, said COVID-19 needs collaborative effort among citizens including the inclusion of community members.
He said people are treating themselves home because the majority of the people are not trusting the system, noting that this is why the human rights platform wants to help the government to monitor and bring about reform to the fight against COVID-19.