By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations (OHCHR), Liberia office Thursday December 3, 2020 presented huge consignment of sanitary and office supplies to two human rights organizations in Liberia.
The two organizations include Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), a local nongovernmental human rights organization that has over the years been providing alternatives to enhancing human rights, rule of law, peace and democracy building and victim’s recovery and Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Liberia (ACAT-Liberia), is a network against torture and death penalty that acts on behalf of all those who are tortured, detained, held in inhumane conditions, executed or missing regardless of origin, political opinion among others.
The materials donated include soap, clorax, alcohol, detergents, envelopes, computer ink, ream of sheets among others.
The materials were given to further spread the awareness on the danger of death penalty and the need to ensure its full eradication in Liberia.
As per their responsibilities, ACAT-Liberia will visit prison facilities and distribute the sanitary materials to inmates and facilities; while Rescue Alternatives Liberia will carry on awareness in communities, hatai centers, market places about the need to abolish death penalty.
Death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment. RAL has repeatedly called on the Government of Liberia to repeal the clause within the Penal Code that talks about the death penalty.
Liberia had since acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which calls for the abolition of the death penalty in 2005.
However, despite advocacy and lobbying with the National Legislature and other relevant government institutions for the repeal of the 2008 law that allows the death penalty, practical action is yet to be taken by the government of Liberia that will lead to its abolition.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony at the offices of RAL on Benson Streets, OHCHR Country Representative, Dr. Uchenna Emelonye called on the organizations to use the materials for the intended purpose to ensure that people in prisons have dignity.
Dr. Emelonye said death penalty needs to be abolished by all countries around the country.
According to him, people should be freed from death penalty; saying such campaign should be pan African campaign.
The OHCHR Country Representative wants the government ensures the abolition of the death penalty.
Speaking on behalf of the two organizations, the National Coordinator of Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), Sam M. Nimely assured the OHCHR that the materials donated were very essential in the midst of the Coronavirus that has paralyzed every sector of the country.
Mr. Nimely wants the full implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which examines the human rights situations of every country and also looks at the status of adherence to international treaties.
The RAL National Coordinator also disclosed the full determination of the two organizations to create the necessary awareness on the need to abolish the death penalty.
The donation of the materials is part of the celebration of the 18th celebration of the World Day Against Death Penalty that couldn’t be celebrated fully due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 18th World Day Against the Death Penalty 2020 was under the theme: Access to counsel – A matter of life or death.
October 10 every year is celebrated as the World Day Against the Death Penalty and was dedicated to the right to effective legal representation for individuals who may face a death sentence.