Implementation of the recommendations in Liberia
The CCPR Centre organized a follow-up mission with other Liberian and international NGOs to remind the State to implement the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Committee.
The CCPR Centre organized a follow-up mission to Liberia from 5 to 9 November 2018, in the framework of the implementation of the recommendations adopted by the UN Human Rights Committee. Margo Waterval, member of the Committee, participated in this mission.
During this mission, the Centre brought together a delegation of NGOs and met with several ministries (Ministry of Justice and Interior), Parliament, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRI) and the representation of the European Union in Monrovia. A strategic planning workshop united the main civil society organizations who work on human rights and their implementation. Two public events were organized : a national consultation on the recommendations of the Human Rights Committee in Liberia, and a conference on the fight against impunity and the crimes of the past. The purpose of these sessions was to reflect on these issues to create ownership of those recommendations, but also to identify concrete steps forward.
To recap : the review of Liberia took place in Geneva in July 2018. The Committee formulated several recommendations, of which three were considered a priority. Those related to impunity for past human rights violations (§11), administration of justice and the right to a fair trial (§37) and customary land (§47). The NGOs noted with satisfaction that this last recommendation was implemented by the adoption of a law on customary land, which incorporated the need to ensure equal access to land to both men and women.
"The work started with the CCPR Centre has mobilized several other international NGOs both in Liberia and in other continents and we know that, together, we can face this challenge."
However, during the bilateral discussions with the authorities, including with the President of the national assembly of Liberia and other stakeholders, the delegation of NGOs noted some reluctance among the State representatives regarding the prosecutions against perpetrators of crimes in the past. Some feared that the prosecution of these perpetrators will put the cohesion and the security in the country at risk. Nevertheless, the delegation of NGOs reminded the State that the presence of alleged perpetrators of grave crimes in decision-making positions of government and Senate, can be viewed as impunity, in particular in the eyes of the victims. This is why the Committee insisted on the necessity to hold perpetrators accountable.
On this issue, Mr. Adama Dempster, Civil Society Platform Coordinator and focal point of the CCPR Centre in Liberia, said that convincing the authorities to engage in investigations and prosecutions for human rights violations in the past, will not be an easy task. "But we are confident; the work started with the CCPR Centre has mobilized several other international NGOs both in Liberia and in other continents (USA and Europe) and we know that, together, we can face this challenge. »
Finally, the need to reinforce the capacity of the NHRI was also discussed during the mission. "Our institution plays a very important role in the follow-up to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But, even though the Human Rights Committee has suggested to increase our budget, this Commission faces a decrease of its resources, " lamented Mr. James Torh, one of the members of the Commission.
The coming months will be decisive: the Human Rights Committee gave the State two years to implement its recommendations, and in particular the three priority recommendations. The State should adopt concrete measures to implement them, and the CCPR Centre will keep mobilizing and support Liberian actors with the objective to effectively implement civil and political rights in this country.