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Human Rights Officer Highlights PWDs Issues

A United Nations human rights officer says Liberians should take cognizance of the rising human rights concerns, especially the rights of persons of disabilities and vulnerable groups, ahead of the October 10 general and presidential elections.

Madam Danai Kudya said that persons with disability should be given preferential attention as they participate in the electoral process, void of discrimination and hindrances as they exercise their franchise.

The officer spoke during the opening of a two-day regional training for CSOs and INCHR monitors on human rights monitoring and reporting in election.

She called on participants to use knowledge gained to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable and marginalized persons before, during and after election.

“We must act with our full capacity to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities as well as vulnerable people including women, the aged, and persons with special needs are respected during these elections,” Madam Kudya said. 

She stressed that the credibility of the coming elections rests partly on the shoulders of civil society organizations and human rights institutions and encouraged all election management bodies and human rights monitors to be cautious in monitoring and reporting on election issues.

“Let us be mindful as human rights officers and CSOs as to what we monitor and how we report our findings. It is important that we ensure that the rights of all persons including PWDs and vulnerable groups are factored in the electoral process,” she said. 

She called on human rights institutions including civil society organizations to submit human rights pledges under the human rights 75 global initiative committing themselves to promote and protect human rights in the country.

Over 30 human rights officers and CSOs from Margibi, Bassa, River Cess and Sinoe Counties are benefiting from the two-day training.

The training is intended to support a peaceful electoral environment through interventions on conflict prevention and mitigation of widespread insecurity, human rights violations, and electoral violence before, during and after the 2023 General Elections in Liberia.

According to Madam Kudya, the training will support response to actual and perceived triggers of electoral violence through human rights monitoring and reporting; mainstream human rights, gender and youth-based interventions, particularly at the grassroots level.

She said the training will direct the attention of participants on a joint peaceful electoral planning and community outreach through mass media, peace messaging, grassroots peace advocacy by civil society as well as mediation, monitoring and reporting of human rights violations during the electoral process.

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Urias Teh Pour, is calling on national and international partners to support the lead national human rights body to achieve its goal.

He said the INCHR was established by an Act of the National Legislature as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights.

The INCHR is empowered by articles 3 and 4 of its Act to promote and protect human rights throughout the Republic of Liberia; investigate complaints of human rights violations and conduct hearing; propose amendments or reform to laws, policies and administrative practices and regulations; as well as advice the government on the implementation of national and international human rights standards.

“These are our cardinal roles and we must work as a commission towards achieving them,” he emphasized.

He thanked international partners including the OHCHR for the level of support the Commission enjoys at the expense of its national and global partnership with the INCHR.
“We are grateful to the OHCHR for its continuous support to the INCHR and call on our monitors to take advantage of these training programs to step up their monitoring and reporting duties in the field,” the INCHR ED said. 

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