Monrovia – The United Nations in Liberia led by its Resident Coordinator Niels Scott, has called on the Liberian Government to implement all of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations covering its third cycle.
The UPR is a ‘unique’ process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States by the Human Rights Council (HRC). It also provides the states an opportunity for them to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights.
Liberia was reviewed in November 2020 via a virtual platform due to the COVID-19 pandemic and following the review, the HRC sent over 200 recommendations covering wide range of human rights issues that Liberia should be implemented. Among them include the criminalization and ultimate eradication of all forms of sexual and gender based violence such as female genital mutilation and harmful traditional practices including trail by ordeal and guaranteeing the protection of LGBTI persons and end discrimination against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Others including strengthening the capacity of independent national human rights institutions, strengthening the legislative framework to grant the Liberian Anti- Corruption Commission (LACC) more prosecutorial powers as well as clear political independence to fight predatory corruption in order to boost the economy and ensure the full implementation of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development 2018 to 2023 in partnership with multi-stakeholders, among others.
Prior to the submission of its report, Liberia’s Justice Minister Cllr. Frank Musah Dean pledged the Government’s continued commitment to remain engage with the HRC and other treaty bodies in order to further improve and strengthen the promotion and protection of Human rights in Liberia. However, the Attorney General also stressed that technical constraints and stressed budget may hinder the full implementation of all of the total 218 recommendations, and called support from various UN agencies and partners in implementing particular recommendations.
“Our government is also aware of the huge technical and financial constraints which could impede the effective implementation of these recommendations,” he said.
However, the UN Resident Coordinator, Niels Scott called on the Government to implement all of the UPR recommendations or as many as possible. Mr. Scott pledged the UN support to the government, and said that the promotion of Human Rights is pivotal to the successful implementation of the government’s flagship program, the PAPD and the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Also speaking, the Country Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Uchenna Emelonye called for the holistic implementation of all 218 recommendations.
Mr. Emelonye pledged the OHCHR support to the implementations of the recommendations and noted that his office will work in partnership with government to ensure their implementation.
For his part, the UNDP Resident Representative to Liberia, Stephen Rodriques promised the government’s continued support towards implementing the recommendations.
Under the joint UN Rule of Law program, he pointed out that UNDP has supported the development of an ADR policy which also regulates traditional practices as an alternative to formal justice system. “The policy outlaws traditional practices outlined here and stand to feed into legislation when adopted,” he averred.