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Liberia: UN report recommends Government action to bolster human rights

Liberia: UN report recommends Government action to bolster human rights

Liberian children
Legal prohibitions of all forms of violence against children, more resources for rural education and better human rights training for national police are among the recommendations in a new United Nations report on Liberia.

The report, compiled by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), covers the human rights situation from May to October 2007 in the West African country, which has made significant strides of late in recovering from a devastating civil war.

The report focuses mainly on economic, social, civil and political rights violations, sexual and gender-based violence, as well as inadequate detention and educational facilities, following the integrated approach of the country’s poverty reduction strategy.

“This strategy aims to integrate a human rights-based approach in programmes or policies by the government in order to promote the fulfilment of all human rights be they economic, social, cultural, civil or political,” the report states in its introduction.

Among the violations of rights highlighted in the report are three cases in which parents allegedly attempted to sell their children in order to buy food.

The report cites instances of corruption in the criminal justice system, involving Liberia National Police (LNP) officers, court officials and prisons authorities.

Other issues of concern include poor detention conditions, the reported operation of private detention facilities and sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and forced marriage.

Recommendations of the report include ensuring that the right to education is ensured through the allocation of more resources, with emphasis on schools located in rural parts of the country.

Specific changes in the legal codes are advocated, including prohibitions against corporal punishment and female genital mutilation, in addition to collaboration with the Human Rights and Protection Section of UNMIL to train LNP personnel in rights issues.