The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

INCHR Alarms Over Engraved Human Rights Violations

By Grace Q. Bryant
The Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Dempster Brown has disclosed that since 2023, human rights violations still remain the same across Liberia.
Commissioner Brown spoke yesterday at the headquarters of INCHR in Sinkor, during the launch of its findings and recommendations on Human Rights Situation Reports of 2023.
“What I want to say here in our findings is, from 2023 up to this time to the new government, nothing has changed as to the violations of human rights In Liberia,” Commissioner Brown stressed.
He added, “What we noticed is that we have a situation that is unbearable that has to do with a serious violation of human rights, that is State security brutality on innocent citizens, resulting in either death or death in custody, severe bodily injuries, mysterious and ritually-motivated deaths.”
According to him, the police have the right to protect lives and properties, “but we notice that the police is not doing well for us.”
Commissioner Brown further expressed that rape and gender-based violence incidents remain prevalent, especially cases involving minors as victims, to include violence against women, adding that compromising of rape cases and other sexual violence-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,” the findings disclosed.
He lamented that, linked to the prolonged detention is poor record keeping in prison and police stations, coupled with the fact that record keeping is done manually, while 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, given their social status.
The report added that 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.
He explained that the monitoring exercises cover the period of January- December 2023 and highlight significant issues on the violations of human rights.
The reports commended the Government of Liberia for its continuous support to the Commission. “We commend our critical partner, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development program (UNDP), and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF); their support has uplifted the level of our report.”
“For the first time, our monitors are tracking issues concerning children rights in the country and have created a theme in our report format that captures children’s issues. I sincerely commend the UNICEF Team for this very critical support which will go a long way. OHCHR definitely is our counterpart and the UNDP has supported most of our programs, especially our transitional justice program,” he emphasized.
Responding to the 2023 reports, the Head of the Human Rights Protection Division at the Ministry of Justice, Cyrus She, said the invaluable work carried out by the independent National Human Rights Commission plays a crucial role in upholding human rights standards and promoting accountability in Liberia.
“Your comprehensive assessment and report on the Human rights situation provide vital insight that helps us shape policy and advocacy interventions to address systemic challenges and promote positive change,” he expressed.
He maintained that the Human Rights Protection Division of the Ministry of Justice of Liberia encourages and welcomes further collaboration with the independent National Human Rights Commission and other relevant stakeholders, including the international organization and Civil Society Groups. “Together, we can leverage our respective expertise, resources, and network to comprehensively address human rights challenges and promote a culture of respect for human dignity and fundamental freedom.”

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