Monrovia – A new European Union (EU) funded project to promote respect for the rule of law, human rights and adherence to national and international standards for prisoners and the strengthening of the capacities of justice actors in Liberia is expected to be launched on Wednesday 10 April 2019 at 11:00 AM at the Kakata Central Prison, Kakata City, Margibi County.
Jointly implemented by Serving Humanity for Empowerment and Development (SHED) and the Rural Human Rights Activists Program (RHRAP) in partnership with Finn Church Aid (FCA) in Finland, the two-year project “Strengthening the Human Rights of Prisoners within Correctional Facilities and at Grassroots Level in Liberia”.
The project will enhance local capacities including awareness raising and the provision of resources for the protection of prisoners’ rights according to international human rights instruments.
The intervention covers Lofa, Bong, Nimba and Margibi Counties respectively; and is further based on the outcomes of the European Union Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) funded project that ended in January 2019 after two years of implementation in the above counties besides Margibi County.
The project will enhance the knowledge of law enforcement officers including police, and correction officers, legal practitioners as well as enlighten the minds of community, traditional and religious leaders on the rule of law and international human rights standards.
In addition, the action will further increase provision of legal assistance for vulnerable detainees; establish a telephone system in prison facilities; strengthen dialogue, cohesion building and information sharing between stakeholders and improve attitude and practices, through awareness-raising and advocacy at national and international level on issues of vulnerable detainees’ rights.
The action will also target some specific gaps that emerged through the previous EIDHR Project implementation such as the necessity to set up and support fast track systems to speed up hearings for pre-trial detainees, enhancing record keeping through the provision of computers and solar panels. Others include basic skill training and reading rooms for inmates.
At the same time, SHED would manage and coordinate the project as well as jointly implement the project with RHRAP in the four counties while FCA in Finland guarantee EU funding compliance.
In doing their work, the implementers will collaborate with government ministries and agencies with a focus on the Justice Ministry, Ministry of Health, and the Judiciary. The implementing partners will also engage Traditional Community and Religious Leaders, other likeminded Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to address some of the many challenges faced by the Liberia justice system.
SHED, formerly Finn Church Aid (FCA) Liberia, is a Liberian organization established as a national office following the departure of FCA after 10 years of work in Liberia.
SHED’s action is guided by international human rights standards and principles. As a right-based actor, SHED facilitates dialogues and peacebuilding between the right-holders and duty bearers to address root causes of conflict.
SHED is a rights-based organization working on human rights, peace building, education, Watsan, and livelihoods programs in Liberia. RHRAP is a local human rights organizations with over 15 years of experience working on the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law in Liberia.