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OHCHR, INCHR End EWER Training In Zwedru

By Gideon Nma Scott, Jr.,
(Guest writer)
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with the Liberia Peacebuilding Office (LPBO) and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has ended a two-day regional training for Community Peace Structures including Community Peace Committee, Early Warning Early Response volunteers, women and youth groups and religious and traditional leaders on mitigating violence before, during and after the electoral process in Liberia. The training was held in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County from 23-24 May 2023.
According to an OHCHR human rights officer, Atty. Roosevelt Jayjay, the training aimed at strengthening participants’ skills and knowledge in handling electoral and preventing violence by adopting a human rights-based approach and response to human rights issues/violations arising out of the electoral process.
He said the Zwedru training was last of four regional trainings throughout the country intended to strengthen existing community peace structures to monitor early warning signs of electoral violence at the local and national levels and adopt human rights-based principles in resolving electoral violence issues.
The OHCHR human rights officer informed participants that the UN human rights office is working with national institutions such as the Independent National commission on Human Rights, the Law Reform Commission, the Ministry of Justice, the National Commission of Disabilities and other institutions to build their capacity in the fulfilment of their statutory mandate to promote and protect human rights throughout Liberia.
“We also support civil society organizations and other network groups at the national and county level to sustained the advocacy for human rights promotion and protection in Liberia,” he stressed.
“These trainings are an activity under the Peacebuilding project on “enhancing the peaceful electoral environment and community security before, during and after the 2023 general and presidential elections in Liberia and are funded by the Liberia Peacebuilding Office,” he observed.
He stressed the importance of the Community Peace Committee, Early Warning and Early Response volunteers, religious and traditional leaders, as well as women and youth groups in mitigating violence and ensuring a peaceful election in Liberia.
For his part, the coordinator of the Justice, Peace and Security Hub #3 in Grand Gedeh County, Rev. Richard Gbaduo called on the participants to see the training as an added knowledge to their capacity in reporting early warning triggers for adequate response.
“This training is a refresher that we should take very serious because it will enhance our skills in dealing with the signs and triggers of violence and how to report them for timely response by the relevant authority,” Rev. Gbaduo observed.
Speaking on behalf of the INCHR, Grand Gedeh County human rights officer Alex Yonly pledged the Commission continuous support in working with national and international partners to ensure the rights citizens and foreign nationals living in the borders of Liberia are respected and protected.
“The Commission is committed to working with all our partners to ensure that the rights of all persons in our borders are respected, protected and fulfilled,” Mr. Yonly said.
He stressed the need for more trainings to build the capacity of human rights defenders across the country.
However, the participants hailed the Liberian Peacebuilding Office, the OHCHR, the INCHR and its partners for the training and called on them for more trainings that will build their capacity. They believe that these trainings have come at the time when the country is politically charged with the smell of elections everywhere.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, an Early Warning and Early Response volunteer, Madam Mai-Frances Railey said, “We appreciate OHCHR, INCHR, LPBO and all partners who supported this workshop.”
She continued, “We are grateful for the knowledge gained. We however call on them for logistical support to ease our job as we go from town to town with the ‘violence free election message.”
Over 60 participants, including Community Peace Committees (CPCs), Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) officers, religious and traditional leaders, women and youth groups, are expected to attend
Similar trainings were held in Tubmanburg, Bomi County for Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbapolu Counties, in Buchanan for Grand Bassa, Margibi, River Cess and Sinoe Counties and Gbarnga for Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties.

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