Liberia: UN rights chief concerned at abuses against civilians
In a statement issued from Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), Sergio Vieira de Mello, said he continues to receive credible reports of serious abuses and violations of human rights and humanitarian law by both parties to the Liberian conflict. These violations include extra-judicial killings, torture and rape. Civilians, including children, have also been deliberately targeted and forcibly recruited for fighting.
“Parties to the conflict should ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian law in areas under their control and in the conduct of hostilities,” Mr. Vieira de Mello said. “Where these abuses and violations occur, parties have an obligation to bring perpetrators to justice.”
The High Commissioner urged all parties to the conflict to commit themselves immediately to the protection of civilians, especially their physical integrity and the means necessary for their survival. He stressed that there can be no impunity for violations of human rights and differences should be resolved peacefully within the context of the rule of law and democratic principles.
Mr. Vieira de Mello also endorsed the appeal made by the UN to the Government of Liberia and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) to enter into cease fire negotiations.