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Ellen critiques US report

Ellen meets NDPresident Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has reacted sharply to the United States’ 2014 human rights report against Liberia, noting that the report is based on “local media reports.”

President Sirleaf has recommended to the U.S, State Department to adapt a policy of review and consultation before releasing the report to the public. “I only wish, given the likelihood that much of the comments in the report are based on local media reports; and taking into account, comments in the report on the media, that the US will adopt a policy of review and consultation before such reports are released,” she suggested.

The Liberian leader spoke Friday night; July 2 at the Executive Pavilion in Monrovia at events commemorating the 239th Independence Anniversary of the United States organized by American Embassy near Monrovia.

According to the State Department report, most serious human rights abuses in Liberia are due to lack of justice, judicial inefficiency, corruption, lengthy pretrial detention, denial of due process, and harsh prison conditions.

The report also highlighted violence against women and children, including rape and domestic violence, and child labor as some of the serious problems here.

Police abuse, harassment, and intimidation of detainees and arbitrary arrest and detention; official corruption; human trafficking; racial and ethnic discrimination; discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons; mob killings; and ritualistic killings were also contained in the report.

“Impunity remained a serious problem despite intermittent and limited government’s attempts to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials, who committed violations, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government,” the report said.

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Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has commended the U.S. for the deployment of troops to help Liberia fight Ebola, the return of Peace Corps and stressed that government looks forward to the return of more Peace Corps Volunteers.

She said government looks forward to the third edition of the US – Liberia Partnership Dialogue to review bilateral cooperation in five areas of post-Ebola recovery plan. In Liberia’s post-Ebola recovery plan, President Sirleaf named health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and security – focusing on UNMIL transition.

She commended the strong personal role U. S. Ambassador Malac, has played in strengthening the special relationship between the two countries and particularly the manner in which she coordinated assistance rendered Liberia during the Ebola crisis. 

She described Ambassador Malac as a “Civilian General” that enabled Liberia to get its success. The United States Ambassador to Liberia Madam Deborah Malac earlier admonished Liberians to have confidence in their own future, and not expect it to be delivered to them by government or partners.

Ambassador Malac urged that similar capacity demonstrated by Liberians during the Ebola crisis last year be applied in a collective spirit to build a better Liberia.

“To those who are impatient about the pace of change, I offer these reminders – change is hard work, but many hands make light work. What I mean? Development, consolidation of democratic governance, and reconciliation are all processes that take time, but by working together, valuing differences and committing to the greater go progress comes more quickly,” she urged.

The US envoy assured that her country is working closely with Liberia, the World Bank, African Development Bank and other donors to expedite the implementation of Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation plan that emphasizes good roads, ports, airports, electricity, and water. 

After intensive work, she said they are near completion and hope later this year of a compact through which the US hope to contribute significant resources to the rebuilding the Mount Coffee hydro-power plant. By Winston W. Parley – Editing by Jonathan Browne

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