Liberia Security Institutions open discussions on Reforms and Human Rights

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26 May 2017

Liberia Security Institutions open discussions on Reforms and Human Rights

Monrovia - On 17 May 2017 an open discussion forum on reforms within the Liberian security sector institutions and compliance with human rights standards was held at the University of Liberia.

Sgt. Penenca Sakar, Adviser to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), highlighted the new mechanism used within the armed forces to comply with human rights standards, including weighting of candidates in recruitment processes, existing mechanisms for prosecution and sanction of violators of basic human rights and institutionalization of human rights training within the AFL.  Similarly, representatives from the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) underscored the institutionalization of human rights within their institutions, and the establishment of civilian complaints boards as an accountability mechanism within their new Acts.  Mr. Kutaka Devine Togbah, Director of the Human Rights Division, Ministry of Justice emphasized the importance of coordination, monitoring and reporting roles by all national institutions.

Current challenges were also discussed within the security sector including the lack of public awareness, the confidentiality and protection of witness, the lack of collaboration between the security institutions and communities, the lack of coordination among security agencies, corruption and bribery, threats to public safety and border security among other matters.

The forum dubbed as the Security Sector Reforms (SSR) Think Tank was supported by UNMIL.  It drew representation from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Energy and Mining, national security agencies, the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), the Liberia Independent Commission on Human Rights and the Governance Commission.  Scholars, Civil Society Organizations and international partners, among them the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), were also represented.