LNP, Partners On 3 Days Security Management Training Ahead Of October 10

The Liberia National Police, United Nations Office for High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the United National Development Program have begun a three-day security management training for officers of the security agencies on Human Rights and Policing in Electoral Context.

the Inspector General of Police and Chair of the elections security management Committee has mandated all joint security officers to maintain neutrality and create a conducive environment to provide adequate, impartial, and equal security protection for all political parties, independence candidates, and their supporters before, during, and after the elections.

Speaking on behalf of the police IG, Deputy Police commander for Operations, Melvin Sackor, has assured the public that the security forces will be robust in responding to election related situations, and anyone or group of people who will  violate the rights of others during electoral processes will be held accountable according to the law.

“You can have a free and fair election, but if the rights of the people are not respected, it incites violence, where it might get out of control,” he added.

He said that the security was not being trained for individual benefit, but for the benefit for the people they serve.

He however thanked the international community for its support to the joint security of Liberia National Police, and promised that the security forces will do their best to ensure that the people will not be intimidated when exercising their political franchise.

Serving as the keynote speaker during the launching ceremony on July 31, at the Police Academy in Monrovia, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations programs, Christine N. Umutoni, said security forces play a very important role in the protection and promotion of human rights and are on the front line to defend human rights.

“In the electoral context, it is important that securities strive to ensure that all citizens benefit from elections that are administratively sound and free from disruptive forces that seek to undermine the expression of popular will,” the UN RC said.

According to her, security agencies are core to ensuring a peaceful electoral environment, which is vital to maintaining the existing peace in Liberia.

“It is in support of these goals that the OHCHR, UNDP and partners, in collaboration with the LNP, will provide election management for the LNP election security officers and other joint security officers on effective election security management, to enhance their capacity to prevent, manage, and respond to potential security threats,” Madam Umutoni said.

She observed that effective law enforcement during an election period requires a balance between the need for electoral security and maintenance of order and non-interference with fundamental freedoms and participation rights, to maintain or create an environment free of intimidation.

“Therefore, LNP, OHCHR, UNDP and partners have joined forces to provide elections management training for the Election Security Officer on effective elections security management to enhance their capacity to prevent, manage and respond to potential security threats,” she added.

According to Madam Umutoni, the modalities of the trainings will be a three-day ToT process, targeting 30 pre-existing security trainers who will be responsible to cascade the trainings in the 6 police regions, covering the 15 counties of Liberia. They will target County and Zone Commanders of the joint security and a crowd control training, targeting officers from the Police Unit.

“These trainings will be held with the strategic intent of preventing human rights violation and abuse in the context of the elections,” Madam Umutoni stressed. She asserted that this coming election presents an opportunity for joint security to show that the public can entirely rely on their presence, and in that way, gain their trust.

The initiative is being conducted with support from the Peace Building Project and funding from Sweden, the European Union and Irish Aid, and implemented under the Peace building Fund titled: “Promoting peaceful electoral environment and community in Liberia”, to support peace through interventions in conflict prevention and mitigation of widespread insecurity, human rights violations, and electoral violence before, during, and after the 2023 general elections in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the ambassador of Ireland, Gerald Considine, has described the role of the security forces, particularly the Liberia National Police, during the election period, as vital, and noted that the training of security officers on election security management was timely.

“It is important that security forces  be neutral and professional and respect human rights, preventing violence and demonstrating non-partisanship while dealing with all political actors, including women,” the Irish ambassador said.

He observed that the October 10 election is a critical moment for Liberia to both consolidate the progress made and to show leadership as an example of a free and fair election to other countries in the region.

“Liberia has a positive track record of mending peaceful elections in recent years, demonstrating a concrete manifestation of its commitment to democracy, peace, and stability,” the Irish ambassador added.

He pointed out that while it is important to train security forces, it was also important to strengthen coordination between security forces and other state actors, including the National Elections Commission, for a peaceful electoral process.

“It is equally important to ensure adequate support to the deployment of security forces on the day of the election by the government of Liberia,” he stressed.

He called on the government of Liberia to ensure overall coordination and timely preparation and allocation of resources, both financial and human, toward improving election security.

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