Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia
Press Release |
Monrovia, February 12, 2024……The Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia (CSHRA-P) feels deeply troubled by events of recent days involving the setting up of road blocks by women under the banner of Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL)personnel wives impeding the free movements of people, good and services in and out of the nation’s Capital, Monrovia in demand of the resignation of Retired Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and new Defence Minister of Liberia on grounds that he is corrupt and has kept the army moral low in what they term as poor housing, no schools for their children, no pension benefits among others.
The protest action of the women outside the Edward Beyan Kessely Barracks (EBK Barracks on the Robertsfield Highway, Bong Mines Bridge on the Bushrod Island, Caldwell Bridge and the Monrovia-Kakata Highway has left thousand of commuters stranded and impeded the free movement of goods and services in and out of Monrovia. While CSHRA-P respects the rights of wives of AFL personnel to assemble and demand better working conditions and conducive living standards for their husbands as guaranteed by chapter 3 of the Liberian Constitution, others are equally guaranteed freedom of movement under the same constitution.
The action of these women purporting as wives to AFL does not only impede the freedom of movement of ordinary Liberians but goes contrary to Section 2.5 of the National Defence Act of 2008 that members of the Armed Forces of Liberia shall perform their duties at all times in accordance with Democratic values and human rights. They shall perform their duties in a non-partisan manner, obey all lawful commands and order from their superior officers in ways that command citizens respect and confidence and contribute towards the maintenance and promotion of respect for the rule of law.
The decision of the high command and member of the AFL to stand aloof while their wives set up sporadic road blocks and impeding the free movement of people including goods and services contravenes Section 8.1 of the National Defence Act of 2008 which calls on all soldiers of the AFL to sweat their full and undivided allegiance to the Republic of Liberia. They shall take no action or permit any activity that is contrary or injurious to the Constitution, laws and people of Liberia.
CSHRA-P admonishes the Government of Liberia to speedily look into the concerns being proffered by the women, take measures to address them and at the same time, investigate the conduct of those leading the protest and appropriate actions taken to serve as deterrence for those wishing to take similar acts in the future.
Considering recent military coups in the sub-region in recent times, and to see soldiers of the AFL standing by and allowing their wives to undertake these kinds of sporadic actions should be seen as a threat to national security and accorded the appropriate attention.
Adama K. Dempster
Secretary General – Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia