The Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (LICHRD), is saddened about the President’s State of Nation Address (SONA) which deliberately failed to adequately address the surmounting challenges of insecurity in relation to alleged secret killings and disappearances of locals in the country.
For instance, the two-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered by his uncle in Bomi County, and also the man who got missing while seeking spiritual healing in Grand Bassa County as well as the three missing boys who were allegedly contracted by St. Moses.
Again, the failure of the President to mention about the status of the transitional justice mechanisms such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) implementation, the establishment of war and economic crimes court, the reparation of victims of the war in order to deliver justice for the many victims is a clear manifestation of the government’s support for the culture of impunity and a fragrant violation of government’s obligation for the promotion and protection of its citizens.
Henceforth, we call on upon the government to make public the status of the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its commitment to the establishment of the war and economic crimes court in Liberia.
The prosecution of alleged warlords is cardinal to the protection of Liberia’s democratic credentials and must be unheeded. The sine qua non of peace is full respect of rule of law which requires the prosecution of perpetrators of war crimes as recommended by the TRC.
Regarding the fifteen thousand civil servants who over the past five years have been paid below the wage bill, LICHRD considers the act of the government as a violation of Chapter III, Article 18 of the Constitution of Liberia (1986) which states “All Liberian citizens shall have equal opportunity for work and employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of origin, or political affiliation, and shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work”.
Henceforth, LICHRD calls on the government of Liberia to make full payment of those civil servant salaries for the past five years or enter into a stipulation with those civil servants so as to amicably resolve their discontentment.
LICHRD furthers call upon the government to do away with politics in addressing the economic and social interest of the people of Liberia. LICHRD also considers the act of the government to underpay those civil servants as a theft of services and calls on civil servants to stand up for their rights.
The promise of the president to protect Liberia’s democratic credentials can’t be effectuated without the establishment of the office of the Ombudsmen. The establishment should be accompanied by adequate budgetary support to enable it deliver on its mandate.
Furthermore, LIRHRD calls on the government for adequate budgetary support to the Independent National Commission on Human Rights…. by ensuring the institution occupies a building of its own to reflect the respect for human rights adherence to international obligations.
As the 2023 general elections draw closer, LICHRD calls upon the president to demonstrate the will and appoint the office of the ombudsmen in consonance to the Code of Conduct Act of 2014.
LICHRD also wish… to state that if the president fails to appoint the office of the ombudsmen before the start of any election activities, a mass protest action for the establishment for the office of the ombudsmen will be conducted.
The establishment of the office of the ombudsmen is a tool for monitoring the conduct of public officials during and after the electioneering period.
LICHRD considers the failure of the president to address the nation about the outcome of the investigation of the passport fiasco as a disservice to the Liberian people. The right to passport is a prove of citizenship as a Liberian and enhances international mobility.
In this regard, LICHRD calls on the government to publish the outcome of the investigation of the passport fiasco with immediate effect so as to regain public trust about the legality and worthiness of the passport both national and internationally.
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