The story of UNMIL [Book]: Independent National Human Rights Commission gets recognition
In 2005, in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended the Liberian civil war, the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INCHR) was established by law as a national institution to promote and protect human rights.
The INCHR was created to ensure the realization of human rights and enhance peace and national reconciliation through the implementation of the recommendations by the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. UNMIL’s engagement with the INCHR fell within the Mission’s mandates to support the Government of Liberia by strengthening its institutional framework for protection, promotion and monitoring of human rights in Liberia.
However, prior to UNMIL’s engagement, the INHCR was largely inactive and suffered a serious deficit of professionalism and credibility, as it was engulfed in malpractice, with redundant roles and a lack of commitment and vision. The Human Rights and Protection Section of UNMIL has since helped it transform into a vibrant commission, with a purpose, an action plan, a vision of greater independence and the capacity to provide the much needed oversight role.
The UNMIL Human Rights section has also fostered INCHR’s relationship with the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) for provision of technical support; ensured the Liberian Commission’s compliance with international human rights principles; trained monitors in human rights advocacy and on the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan; and advocated with the national authorities to increase budgetary support. UNMIL has continued monitoring and reporting, and supporting the National Commission, targeting sexual and gender-based violence and within that, rape, domestic violence and female genital mutilation. This has resulted in increased public awareness and enhanced collaboration between the INCHR and civil society on pressing issues in Liberia. The Government has increased resources and political support to the Commission.
In 2017, the INCHR received an “A” Status accreditation with the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions. With this status, the Commission has equal voice, representation and participation with regional and international bodies and human rights mechanisms, which will benefit its promotion and protection of the rights of all persons in Liberia.