By Mark N. Mengonfia –firstname.lastname@example.org
MONROVIA-United Nations Agencies in Liberia are seeking from the government of Liberia a commitment to implement some 218 recommendations from member state put forth in 2018 by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva following their November 2, 2020, Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The UN bodies met in Monrovia on 2nd February 2021 in a meeting with the government of Liberia and [UN agencies]. It was at that meeting that the calls were made for the Liberian government to fully implement the 2018 recommendations from member states by the United Nations Human Rights Council. The government is expected to report to the international community on February 6, 2020.
To ensure that the recommendations are discussed and reach a decision, the Liberian government established what is known as the “National Human Rights Actions Plan Steering Committee.” It was under this auspices that brought together various UN agencies, embassies as well as member of the diplomatic missions in Liberia to have a dialogue on the recommendations.
The government was represented by its Justice Minister, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean at the dialogue.
Cllr. Dean told the gathering that at the end of the meeting they will have to reach an agreement on which of the recommendations to accept and which one to hold in temporary suppression.
He said the Liberian government is also aware of the huge technical and financial constraints which could impede the effective implementation of those recommendations.
He furthered, ” Hence, you were invited, as key partners, to present your comments to support the implementation of particular recommendations, especially those you advanced and to present advocacy of the acceptance of these recommendations.”
He said as Liberia presented its 3rd UPR in fulfillment of its human rights treaty reporting obligations, the government assured continued commitment to remain engaged with the Human Rights Council and other treaty bodies in order to further improve and strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
Uchenna Emelonye, Country representative of the Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR) encouraged the government to implement all of the recommendations that were sent by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Emelonye who pledged the full support of OHCHR to implement them, said his office deals with the rights of all as such, every recommendation is important.
Stephen Rodriques, UNDP Resident Representative called on the government to continue to criminalize and ultimately eradicate sexual and gender-based violence stressing on Female Genital mutilation and harmful traditional practices including trials by ordeal.
He pledged UNDP support to ensuring that the rights of LGBTI are protected and end discrimination against person on their sexual orientation.
Rodriques said the government should ensure that all persons in Liberia are in full compliance with Liberia’s international obligation and reduce prison overcrowding and improve the condition of prison.
He said it is important that the government strengthen the legislative framework with the view to granting the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission more prosecutorial powers as well as clear political independence to fight predatory corruption in order to boost the economy.
Rodriques said UNDP is willing to support the government implement provision in the National Human Rights Actions Plan for the protection of vulnerable individuals including children, persons with disabilities person with albinism, LGBT persons and persons diagnosed with AIDs.
It may be recalled that since heading Liberia’s six members delegation UPR, Justice Minister said that in 2015 Liberia continues to be “calm and peaceful with no human rights violations.” However, human rights defenders and Civil Society Organizations in Liberia have a much less rosy perspective about the statement presented by the government about the issues of human rights across the country.
Dean said every incident bordering on abuse or violation of human rights, under the laws of Liberia and international instruments to which Liberia is signatory, is routinely investigated, those responsible charged, prosecuted and punished consistent with the law.