Liberia: Government must ensure safe space
INCHR Boss Cllr. Dampster Brown
By Lewis S. Teh
Liberia: The Chairperson of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) Cllr. Dampster Brown has reminded government of its obligation to ensure a safe space where people can exercise their rights to free speech and expression.
Cllr. Brown noted that as Liberia prepares for presidential and general elections in 2023, it is necessary that government put measures in place to provide free space, void of violence and abuse of human rights.
Responding to Tuesday’s (July 26, 2022) bloody violence before the United States Embassy near Monrovia that led to injuries, the INCHR Boss said, “Failure of the government to provide security to the protesters under the guise that the State was not sought is no excuse.”
At a news conference held over the weekend, Cllr. Brown said civil spaces must be free of violence, pressure and threats with freedom of expression, freedom of assembling and association.
He cited Article 17 of the Constitution of Liberia, which he says, gives every citizen the right to assembling, adding that Liberia being a signatory to the universal human rights declaration, government is obliged by Article 5, which he says, provides that no one should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.
Cllr. Brown continued that under Article 8, everyone has right to an effective remedy in a competent tribunal for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the Constitution or by law.
He condemned the July 26 Independence Day violence meted against some members of the campus-based Vanguard Students Unification Party (SUP) by a pro-government group, CDC-CoP.
He stressed that such attack should never be swept under the carpet, adding “The INCHR in the strongest of terms condemn the acts of violence and inhumane treatment meted against members of the students’ Unification Party particularly Christopher Walter and calls on government to investigate and take serious actions.”
According to reports, Christopher Walter was mobbed and script naked and was paraded within the environs of the United States Embassy near Monrovia with said incident live streamed on various social media platforms, Cllr. Brown noted.
In a related development, the President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) Dr. Samuel B. Reeves has condemned the July 26 Violence and called on the government to investigate and take concrete action against those that will be found liable.
“We all have seen the pictures and videos of those that are perpetrating the crime against their young friend, and we want to show to the world that as we gear up for elections next year, we should have a peaceful, transparent and credible election to keep our democracy steady, for it to be respected by the world”, Dr. Reeves said. Editing by Jonathan Browne