As the Liberian Leader, President George M. Weah has left the Country for international engagements both in the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates , the State Department of Liberia’s longtime-ally, America, has published its 2022 Human Rights Report highlighting several human rights’ abuses, including “politically motivated killing.”
At the top of the report on Liberia, the US State Department highlighted the issues of “Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or “Politically Motivated Killings”.
The State Department report noted that Liberia is a constitutional republic with a bicameral national assembly and a democratically elected president.
The report noted that on June 28, 2020, the country conducted a by-election to fill a vacant senate seats and observers deemed the election free and fair.
The State Department Report noted that during Election, Observers characterized the 2020’s Senatorial Elections as largely peaceful, although there were reports of vote’s tampering, intimidation, harassment of female candidates, and election violence.
It contained that the country held Presidential and Legislative Elections in 2017, which observers considered free, fair, and George M. Weah won the 2017’s Presidential Runoff Election.
“The Liberia National Police maintains internal security with assistance from the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency, and both report to the Ministry of Justice. “The armed forces carried out internal security responsibilities if called upon, and report to the Ministry of National Defense. Civilian Authorities generally maintained effective control over the security forces. There were reports that members of the security forces committed some abuses” the report noted.
The US State’s Department Report highlighted significant human rights’ issues, including credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, extrajudicial killings, cruel and inhuman treatment, degrading treatment , harsh and life-threatening prison conditions, arbitrary arrest or detention, serious problems with the independence.
The Report also highlighted, judicial, serious restrictions on freedom of expressions and the media, violence and threats of violence against journalists, serious government’s corruption, lack of investigation and accountability for gender-based violence, child, early, and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting.
“Crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons, the existence, and enforcement of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, and the outlawing of independent trade unions or significant restrictions on workers’ freedom of association.
“Impunity continued for individuals who committed human rights’ abuses, including atrocities during two civil wars, as multiple investigative and audit reports were ignored. “The government made intermittent but limited attempts to investigate and prosecute officials accused of abuses during the year, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government”, the US State Department report indicated.
The State Department noted that there were several reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings.
The report mentioned that these killings by police are investigated by the Professional Standards Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and then forwarded to Criminal Courts for prosecution.
The Report recounted that on June 13, police killed Rufus Fongbeh, an unarmed civilian, in Kakata, Margibi County and following an investigation, the two LNP’s Officers were formally stripped of their duties pending further disciplinary action.
It also highlighted that on July 4, LNP’s Officer James Togba shot and killed Orlando Broh (also reported in media as Bloh), an unarmed civilian in Monrovia.
According to court’s records, Togba committed the killing during a botched attempt to extort money from drug addicts.
After the LNP dismissed Togba from the force, he was indicted and charged with murder. Togba was awaiting trial at the end of the year.