The Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse has commended the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) for its important role to make Justice more accessible to all Liberians, as dictated by Liberia’s Constitution.
Delivering a keynote address at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town during an induction ceremony of LNBA’s officers-elect on Friday, 28 January 2022, Amb. Delahousse said the LNBA contributes to familiarize Liberians with the Rule of Law.
“Your organization is also playing an important role in monitoring the integrity, independence and transparency of the legal system in Liberia in view of restoring public confidence and trust in the system,” he said.
“Seen by an alien such as I, the rapport of Liberians to the concept of Justice reveals something that I would qualify bordering a “culture and economy of litigation”, which is uncommon to many of us Europeans, at least to me as a Frenchman,” he added.
The EU Envoy to Liberia expressed a hope to be wrong when he has the feeling that the political debate is, sometimes, at present, “happening more in court over legal arguments rather than in the communities over electoral manifestos.”
Amb. Delahousse noted that it is a cultural trait, the product of Liberia’s history and maybe special links to the United States.
“But what is more important is that the legal system proves effective in the interest of the citizens at large,” he continued.
He used the occasion to sincerely thank LNBA’s immediate past president Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe and his team for the important work carried out by the Association to facilitate access to justice for all Liberians and for being an active and critical voice in the public debate.
Amb. Delahousse also commended the personal example set by Cllr. Gongloe striving both, to protect the financial interest of the LNBA budget in carrying out his duties as well as to promote freedom of expression and internal democracy within the Bar Association.
He suggested that respect for Human Rights and Democracy are the best principles of government to improve people’s lives and to ensure that no one is left behind.
He said development, democracy and respect of Human Rights go together, adding that Human Rights are not second to development; their promotion cannot wait for the improvement of people’s lives.
“Democracy and Human Rights work. Those who tell you otherwise are wrong because ultimately Humans want freedom, respect and a say in their government,” the EU Envoy continued.
He said the Rule of Law is not only about civil law, that law specific to each nation according to its own history, but it is also about jus gentium and international laws such as those governing Human Rights.
“We consider it our joint duty as citizens of free societies to speak up – together – when the democracy, Human Rights and fundamental freedoms we enjoy are at risk elsewhere.”
He stated that Human Rights are universal, they apply the same everywhere, from the local village to the global community.
Amb. Delahousse indicated that they belong to every Human, they are consubstantial to the birth of every new baby wherever in the world, Liberia, Europe, America or China.
He argued that this is not interference in the affairs of other States, but it is an act of faith in and respect of the universal values enshrined in the international legal corpus of the United Nations.
“And I am humbled to note, in President George Manneh Weah’s own words, as spelled out this Monday in His Excellency’s Annual Message to Congress, that “Liberia will remain a pillar of democracy on the African continent, availing its willingness to remain a part of the global coalition in defence of democracy in the world,” the EU Envoy said.
He commended the leadership of Liberia in contributing to defend and restore peace, security, stability, democracy, and constitutional order, through ECOWAS, in its Sister Republics Guinea, Mali, and now Burkina Faso.
“The European Union and its Member States stand at your side in this endeavour,” Amb. Delahousse noted.