‘Respect Right to Protest’

Since the meeting (pictured) hosted by President George M. Weah on Unification Day, May 14, 2019 to establish dialogue with the Council of Patriots, all other attempts by the government have failed.

— UN, AU, ECOWAS urge Gov’t

The United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) Liaison Office in Liberia and the Office of the Special Representative of the Economy Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission in Liberia are urging the government to respect and uphold Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution by allowing those planning to protest on June 7 to go ahead with their planned “peaceful protest.”

Article 17 guarantees the right of all Liberians to lawful, peaceful and orderly assembly and association. The Council of Patriots (organizers of the June 7 protest), are relying this legal instrument on to organize Liberians to demonstrate their discontentment with the current governance system through a peaceful protest and present their petition to the government.

In a statement circulated on the evening of Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the multilateral stakeholders commended the government and other stakeholders, including the Council of Patriots, for the inclusive dialogue held on May 14, 2019, which coincided with this year’s National Unification Day activities.

According to the international partners, the meeting was a signal of all parties’ willingness to work together amicably on issues arising from political disagreement to agree and foster development.

“Any prolonged political disagreement in Liberia will undermine peace, as well as worsen the prospects for improved socioeconomic development,” they added.

“We, therefore, reiterate the need for inclusive, transparent and continued dialogue on the planned 7 June protest, without denying Article 17 of the Liberian Constitution, which guarantees the right of all Liberians to lawful, peaceful and orderly assembly and association,” the partners said in their statement.

The multilateral groups also expressed renewal of their continued support to the process with a firm commitment to support the people and Government of Liberia (GoL) in their endeavors for a peaceful, stable and prosperous country.

Liberia has, of late, been facing political and economic crises. Acknowledging the situation, United States Ambassador Christine Elder called on President George Weah to take steps to curtail those challenges.

Also, on May 10, 2019, heads of UN Peace Missions in West Africa held their 34th High-Level Meeting in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, where they highlighted several regional challenges, including the current situation in Liberia.

According to count four of the communiqué from that meeting, the Heads of Missions took note of the briefing on the current situation in Liberia, particularly the planned protest on June 7, as well as the dialogue with the government, pressure groups and opposition political parties, to ensure that the protests are peaceful.

The meeting, according to a release from Bissau, enjoined the people and the GoL to sustain efforts to address various political, economic and governance challenges facing the country, and reiterated the importance of the maintenance of peace and security.

They commended the UN Country Team’s coordinated support to Liberia, as well as the strong partnership between the UN, the AU and ECOWAS, particularly on conflict prevention and good offices.

The Heads of Mission then called on the international community to continue its support to Liberia to further enhance peace consolidation and sustainable development.


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