-As Victoria Zayzay makes final journey
The Advocacy Campaign Groups working on the case involving the mysterious death of female detainee Victoria Zayzay in Police custody on October 20, 2015 say the Government of Liberia has failed to establish the cause of death as family members collect her remains for burial today, Thursday, 31 March.
Members of the advocacy campaign include the Independent Human Rights Investigators, the women in Peace Building Network WIPNET, the Liberia Independent Advocate for Human Rights LIAHR, and the Advocacy Movement for Montserrado County.
Addressing a press conference Wednesday in Monrovia, the national director and lead investigator of the Independent Human Rights Investigators, Adama K. Dempster said, suspicious and mysterious deaths in Liberia have emerged as another trend of challenge, creating fear and insecurity amongst Liberians and foreign nationals.
He urged the Government to seize the opportunity to ensure protection of human security and advance the culture of human rights at all levels in the face of UNMIL’s drawdown. According to him, family of the deceased had complained death certificate issued by the government carried the name Bendu Morris, rather than Victoria Zayzay.
“In fulfilment to seek redress for victims and victim’s families, we would like to highlight some important interventions made by the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia UNMIL, through a letter written to the Zayzay’s family of the UN engagement with the government of Liberia to investigate and bring the case to an immediate end”, he said.
He also urged the government to take necessary actions to deter and alleviate any action of insecurity, especially for people within its custody, and pointed to lapses in a communication from the government to the family, which include not mentioning where Ms. Victoria Zayzay died and in whose custody or expressing condolences for her death along with her unborn baby, which was unearthed in an earlier autopsy report, and take full responsibility for her demise along with the unborn child, for the fact that she was healthy prior to being held at the Zone 6, Deport 1 holding cell of the Liberia National Police.
A government’s autopsy report released by the Ministry of Justice in February failed to establish cause of death the late Victoria Zayzay. Dempster said family has disclosed that the late Victoria Zayzayans her unborn child will be laid to rest today, Thursday, in Brewerville City, Montserrado County after a parade from the St. Moses Funeral Home thru Somalia Drive to Virginia at the Bethel Banjor Church where funeral service will be held.
“Let it be stated clearly here that even as we prepare for the burial tomorrow, the Government of Liberia has failed miserably to state the cause of death”, he concluded. Meanwhile, the Government of Liberia has reportedly promised to underwrite the cost of embalmment, and provide US$ 3,500 to the family to assist in handling other funeral expenses.
By Bridgett Milton-Edited by Jonathan Browne