Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), a local human rights organization has embarked on training civil society organizations actors to monitor government compliance to treaty bodies reporting and implementation of recommendations of the international human rights treaties it signed onto.
The two days training is under the project “Compliance to Treaties Bodies” that Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) is implementing with funding from the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) with focus on the implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The objectives of the project include: Research to identify barriers to timely reporting (by government and CSOs), and identify Civil Society gaps in capacity building to monitor Treaty Bodies’ Recommendations; Strengthen CSO engagement in monitoring compliance with treaty reporting and implementation; and Coordinate the drafting and submission of the 3rd NGOs Report to, and engage with the UPR process.
Liberia has been reviewed by a number of international treaty bodies, including the Human Rights Council under the Universal Periodic Review process, twice; the Human Rights Committee, Committee of the Rights of the Child; Committee on Discrimination against Women.
Moreover, it is yet unknown why the government has done little or nothing to implement those accepted recommendations. On the other hand, civil society has little or no capacity to monitor and/or advocate the implementation of the recommendations.
The 3rd cycle of the UPR process is due in May 2020; The Government should be holding national consultation leading to the drafting of the national report, which is not going on. CSOs, national human rights institution and regional and international partners and stakeholders will have to be submitting shadow reports by 19 September 2019.
Speaking at the opening of the training, the National Coordinator of RAL, Sam Nimely called on the participants to pay keen attention during the deliberations as their participation is important to their contribution in preparing the shadow report.
As part of the capacity building, RAL has simplified the UPR recommendations by producing over 2000 copies and distributed among participants and will later be given to schools, government ministries and agencies, among others.
Nimely said it is important for CSO actors to have good understanding of the recommendations, saying “we need to implement what we accepted.”
For his part, the chairman of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley commended RAL for the training.
“The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is best practice international human rights instrument to monitor, review and report on state parties’ performance. Because of this, the NHRI, the world over are critical partners to civil society organizations and CSOs and critical allies to state parties to monitor and report on levels of compliance,” he said.
According to him, INCHR is in the process of holding regional stakeholders consultations to be able to compile and submit a shadow or alternative report.
“We must together insist, persevere and ensure that Liberia meet her treaty bodies obligations by respecting, fulfilling and protecting the human rights of all so that Liberia will become better from regimes to regimes and from decades to decades. We must together ensure a sustainable human rights culture in Liberia,” he added.
At the same time, Peter W. Mahn, chief of office staff in the office of Representative Dorwohn Gleekia and chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on Peace and Reconciliation has called on Liberians to hold together and have respect for human rights.