Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), a local human rights organization is calling on the Liberian Government to domesticate some of the international human rights treaties it signed onto.
Liberia has among other things signed the document to abolish torture, harmonized the marriage laws, abolish Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), death penalties.
Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL) Wednesday July 10, 2019 launched a project titled: Compliance to Treaties Bodies” 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 launch of the project, the National Coordinator of RAL, Sam Nimely reminded the Liberian Government that those documents go with development and must be taken seriously.
“Our government has obligated us and we must be able to implement,” he said.
Mr. Nimely said his organization will go from community to community to simplify those documents that the country has signed. He also said they will engage members of the National Legislature to have an insight of those treaties.
For his part, the Vice Chairman for Chief Affairs at the National Traditional Council of Chief & Elders, Momo Kiazolu revealed that the council has agreed to abolish FGM, but said they need time to take an inventory to know where FGM is being practiced in the country.
“We will work with you because what we know you don’t know and what you know we don’t know. We will work togther. We have agreed to abolish FGM,” Chief Kiazolu said.
At the same time, the president of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe has pledged his institution’s unflinching support to RAL during the implementation of the project and beyond.
“Maybe people don’t know it is good to comply or you will be considered a noncompliance country and it is not good for our country. Maybe it is share ignorance,” he said.
However, Cllr. Gongloe said there is a need to create awareness. He commended the organization for the initiative, saying “Liberia has signed so many treaties, but how well have we performed as a country? What have we done to have women represented everywhere?”
Also speaking, the Director of Legislative, Presidential Treaty Matter and Laws at the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, Attorney Urias Teh Pour said some treaties are like contracts, saying “most often at meeting in Geneva we are questioned.”
Atty. Teh Pour also said state compliance to treaties is important. “Making policies is not compliance, but operationalizing it,” he said.