Stakeholders Brainstorm to Strengthen Collaboration on Human Rights Issues

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The OHCHR working session is being attended by staffers of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform, and members of the Legislative Staff Human Rights Association.

In an effort to further strengthen collaboration among key institutions in the country on issues relating to human rights, the peace-building project of the Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) is sponsoring a two-day technical working session with relevant institutions.

The working session, which commenced on Tuesday, August 28, 2028, in Monrovia, is being attended by staffers of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform, and members of the Legislative Staff Human Rights Association.

Roosevelt Jayjay, Human Rights Officer of OHCHR, who provided an oversight of the technical working session, said the activity is one of several activities of Peace-building project that the OHCHR in collaboration with INCHR and CSO Human Rights Advocacy Platform is implementing.

Jayjay said the working sessions are aimed at strengthening INCHR, CSO Platform and the Legislative Staff Human Rights Association, establishing collaboration and partnerships to advocate to the Legislature on law reforms and bills, and accountability in line with international human rights standards.

“Mainstreaming human rights in bill drafting, law reform and accountability at institutional level remains a serious challenge which requires the collaborative effort of every stakeholder to achieve this goal,” Mr. Jayjay said.

He said collaboration and coordination mechanisms among these institutions, specifically CSO Platform and the Legislative Staff Human Rights Association, is poor or does not exist, and OHCHR’s aim is to ensure that a collaboration and coordination mechanism is established and strengthened,  to address the issues that affect women.

The issues, he said, include harmful traditional practices, specifically female genital mutilation and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

Mr. Jayjay promised that OHCHR will continue to work to further strengthen the collaboration and coordination mechanism among the actors, which will result to human rights being mainstreamed in Legislative advocacy on law reforms and bill drafting.

There were presentations on the topic, “Identifying key legislation/Acts that require human rights compliance.”

Attorney Urias Teh Pour, Director, DLATML-INCHR, said there are several laws in Liberia that are in conflict with international protocols and conventions to which Liberia is a signatory. Some of these laws, for example, is the one on the death penalty, which is still being used in the country in ruling by the courts.

Another law yet to be repealed, according to Pour, and that is in total violation of international conventions is armed robbery and the terrorism and hijacking Act of 2008, which prescribes death penalty for convicted armed robbers.

He said discriminatory provisions in statutory law include the Nationality and Citizenship Law of 1973 and the Alien and Nationality Law, which provides that a child born abroad to a Liberian mother and a non-Liberian father is not automatically granted the mother’s nationality.

This, Pour said, is “discriminatory to women.” This provision of the law, he said, is against Article 2 (a) of the Maputo Protocol, which states that parties shall combat all forms of discrimination against women through appropriate legislative, institutional and other measures.

INCHR executive director Herron Gbidi, who spoke on the topic, “Techniques, lobbying and Advocacy for Promotion of Human Norms in the Process of Legislation,” said the entity needs to work closely with the National Legislature, to push bills that will protect human rights.

Attorney Bowoulo Taylor Kelly presented on the topic, “International Human Rights Treaties and State Obligations to Protect the Freedom of Assembly.”

Kelly said freedom of assembly is a fundamental right protected under Liberian laws and, in this context, is the rule and its restriction an exception to this rule.

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