(The Vatican) – Liberia’s Catholic Bishops have called on the country’s security agencies to uphold human rights as authorities go about enforcing a government-imposed lockdown aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement issued by Liberia’s National Commission of Catholic Justice, Peace and Caritas (NCJPC), on behalf of the Bishops, the prelates commend the government for measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus pandemic. They, however, stress the importance of acting within the confines of the law.
The Liberian legislature approved President George Weah’s request to declare a state of emergency and imposed a 60-days COVID-19 lockdown. Liberia has 189 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Liberia (CABICOL) is concerned about growing cases of human rights violations by various security agencies in Liberia. While recognising that during a state of emergency, individual rights may be suspended, the Bishops warn of a situation that could get out of hand. They cite several documented cases of violations that were captured in video recordings gone viral.
The Bishops further insist that the dignity of every person must be upheld and protected at all times.
The Liberian prelates also denounced threats targeting the country’s media made by government officials. They criticised, in particular, the country’s Solicitor General who publicly threatened media houses with closures.
We “would like to remind the government and its functionaries, that the Constitution has not been suspended” and therefore infractions must be dealt with in a civilised manner, said the Bishops.