“Human Rights Violation In Liberia remains unchanged since 2003” – Cllr.  T. Dempster Brown whispers 

By: Christopher Wiah |

(May 2, 2024)- The chairperson of the independent national commission on human right, Cllr. T. Dempster Brown , said the violation of human rights remain unchanged since 2003 to current leadership.

He made this statement, Thursday May 2, 2024, during the launching of the findings and recommendations of the human rights situation report 2023, held with the press and international communities.

The reports are in line with the 2005 INCHR Act which provides them range of statutory responsibilities, to report on the national situation with regards to human rights in general, and on more specific matters.

Delivering the reports, Cllr. T. Dempster Brown, said the international commission on human rights has prepared two major reports 2023, the Human Rights Report and specific report on the 2023 general and Presidential elections.

According to him since 2003, the institution has observer several unbearable violations including State Security brutality, Prolonged Pretrial detention, to include juvenile in detention facilities, Rape and gender-based violence, Delays by the rule of law institutions and cases settled or attempted to be settled out of court.

”Ladies and gentlemen, INCHR has prepared two major reports 2023, the Human Rights Report and specific report on the 2023 general and Presidential elections. The Commission on the Human Rights report observed the following:

State Security brutality, in some cases resulting into either death or death in custody, severe bodily injuries; Mysterious and ritually motivated deaths.

Prolonged Pretrial detention, to include juvenile in detention facilities. Juveniles are detained in prison contrary to the statute and international human rights standards,

Rape and gender-based violence incidents remain prevalent especially cases involving minors as victims, to include violence against women. Compromises of rape cases and other sexual violent related cases are on the increase.

Delays by the rule of law institutions and cases settled or attempted to be settled out of court were observed-especially the failure of the GoL to make autonomous Prisons in order to develop the Parole and Probationer Boards to fast-track cases in Liberia to reduce prolonged pretrial detention” He said.

According to Cll. Brown, Link to prolonged detention is poor record keeping in prison and police stations, couple with the fact that recording keeping are done manually.

He further that Corruption in the criminal justice has hindered the realization of justice and most affected are the vulnerable persons detained because they cannot afford exuberant bail requirement giving their social status.

The international commission on human rights Chairperson also name The Lack of legal counsel for poor and rural people who come in conflict with the law, Violent against minority groups on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, Harmful practices including trials by ordeal, ritual killings, mysterious deaths, forceful initiations and female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision continue to be practiced almost with impunity across the Country, as constant violation.

“Violence against children, especially subjecting children to the worst form of child labor as well as children use as bread-winner for adult’s parents, the exploitation of children during the President and General elections where children were seen wearing political parties and candidates electoral   paraphernalia, placing them at risk and in some instance attacked and beaten by rival groups are unacceptable.” He blast.

Cllr. Brown laments that despite Government’s ratification of 8 out of the 9 core international human rights treaties including regional human rights instruments such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Liberia human rights records has not improved markedly.

“On the basis of these observations, the Commission recommends the following:

  • Ensure that rape and gender-based violence cases are legally disposed of in a timely fashion to safeguard justice for both victim(s) and perpetrator(s), as well as to lower the chances of compromising all of such cases.
  • Ensure logistical, infrastructural and manpower development of the justice system that will enhance their capacity to speedily respond to cases, speedy adjudication or trial of cases in courts and providing the required correction and rehabilitation of convicts, as well as ending the huge backlogs of prolonged pre-trial detention at almost all 16 prisons in Liberia.
  • Ensure that the BCR or Prison is made autonomous to activate the Parole and Probation Boards to address prolonged pretrial detention and restitution by sentenced persons in prison.
  • Ensure that INCHR is visible in all of the 15 Counties to ensure monitoring and reporting on the activities of duty bearers in.
  • Ensure that judicial officials, defense counsels and prosecutors assigned to courts are always present to work with Parole and Probation officers and to ensure that appropriate administrative measures are taken against personnel who are absent from their duty stations without leave.
  • To play a more proactive role in addressing the plight of vulnerable groups in Liberia, especially persons with disabilities (PwDs), Women and Children, minority groups-such as LGBTIQ persons, etc. and ensure adequate budgetary support towards the fulfillment of range of rights in Constitution and human rights instruments.
  • Initiate a sustained nationwide awareness campaign against harmful practices specifically, forceful initiations, FGM, trials by ordeal, ritual killings, violence against children such as accusation of children as witches. etc.
  • Ensure that in the future legislations or policy that children are not used by political parties and candidates to campaign during elections to save the children from violence.
  • Enact laws in the Penal Code that include provisions specifically not only prohibiting and criminalizing FGM in keeping with human rights standards and instruments such as ICESCR, CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol.
  • Ensure that respect for the rule of law and human rights are made paramount in Liberia to include making elections inclusive and participative as well as violent free.
  • Amid these daunting challenges, limited resources and budgetary allocation to pay rent and staff remuneration, INCHR has been able to gather a clear picture of the human rights situation across the country for the period under review.
  • Although the country has existing legal frameworks and has acceded and ratified several international human rights instruments, implementation remains a major challenge that limits its ability to protect human rights. Access to justice remains an illusion with a vast majority of poverty-stricken citizens unable to afford legal services and to undertake prolonged and expensive court proceedings”. He noted.

For their part, the ministry of justice, UNICEF, US EMBASY in separate remarks welcomes the reports and promise to work in line with the international commission in amicably resolving some of the issues raise.

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