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EU Will Fight Against Impunity … Amb. Delahousse Tells New INCHR Commissioners

The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia, Laurent Delahousse, says the EU will fight vigorously against impunity for serious crimes of concern to the international community.
“But our effort would be vain without the strong support and growing numbers of active organizations here in Liberia,” Ambassador Delahousse told the new commissioners of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights.
Making remarks at the turning over ceremony of commissioners of the INCHR yesterday at their head officers, Ambassador Delahousse said Liberia is still expected to make some further important steps on three particular issues.
He mentioned Female Genital Mutilation when he said the European Union calls on the Government of Liberia to take immediate action by issuing an Executive Order banning such practice while working with the Legislature to deliver a law and permanently ban the practice thereof.
He urged the government to also work with communities to change these practices adding that every lost day is a maimed womanhood for too many little girls in Liberia.
The EU’s Head of Delegation to Liberia further named the second issue as the Death Penalty and emphasized that Liberia has to abolish such practice though the last execution was back in 2000, there are still 14 persons sentenced reminding that Sierra Leone recently abolished the death penalty.
He said as the 23rd country In Africa to prohibit capital punishment, the international community’s call is on Liberia to be the 24th while the criminalization of consensual sexual conduct by same-sex couples is another issue of concern.
The EU Ambassador recalled that the Penal Code of Liberia continues to criminalize adult, consensual sexual conduct by same-sex couples, in violation of Articles 2(1), 17, 23 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights noting, “The existence of such deprives LGBT individuals of the equal protection of the law.”
“On all these issues, we know how sensitive they are in your country, we are fully aware of the strong prevalence of traditional culture, beliefs and practices, but it is not because they are traditional that they are right. Traditions, when they are wrong, when they are harmful, when they are illegal, must evolve,” he reiterated.
He said women organizations are present on the ground and fight daily for their rights adding, “Freedoms of information and expression are to be adequately respected.”
“Through the Spotlight Initiative program, we have committed even further in this quest of promoting gender equality and preventing sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and child marriage,” Ambassador Delahousse stressed.
The European Union is founded on a shared determination to promote peace and stability and to build a world founded on respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law and has been on the side of Liberia for many years supporting the respect of human right in all fields of cooperation.
Meanwhile, the head of the Civil Society Organization on Human Rights, Adama Dempster, is calling on the government to complete the Board of Commissioners as there were only five members commissioned when there should have been seven as required by the act that created the INCHR.
The new commissioners are Dempster Brown, Chairperson; Cllr Charles Harris, Vice-Chairperson; Atty Pela Boker-Wilson, Atty Mohammed Fahnbulleh and Pindarous Allison, Commissioners respectively.
The Chairperson of the Commission, Dempster Brown, promised that the Commission will seek funding to conduct training workshops for the police and other members of the State security, including Judicial officials.
Cllr. Brown also said the training will cut across to magistrates and State prosecutors so that they know the rights of all accused persons assuring, “We will also engage the National Legislature to pass into law an Act to abolish death penalty base upon conventions, international treaties and protocols signed by the Liberian Government in the past and ratified.”
“We are determined to work with, civil society organizations and local Human Rights organizations to ensure that the rights of our citizens and foreign residents are protected,” the new chairperson promised.
This commission was established in 1997 with the nomenclature: Liberia commission on human rights with limited powers and the Act was amended in 2005 with the nomenclature: “The Independent National Commission On Human Rights” with Quasi-Judicial functions to hear complaints and to prevent the violation of Human Rights in Liberia.

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