Liberia: Former Police Chief Cautions Joint Security Forces against Abuse of Human Rights During State of Emergency
MONROVIA – The former Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Colonel Gregory O. W. Coleman has cautioned joint security forces of the Government of Liberia (GOL) against the harassment and intimidation of peaceful citizens during this state of emergency period in the country.
Report by Obediah Johnson, [email protected]
President Weah declared a 21-day state of emergency to enforce a stay home order and the observance of social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The Liberian leader’s action comes in the wake of the unprecedented increase in the number of coronavirus deaths and cases in the country.
Soldiers and officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Liberia National Police (LNP), Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), and the National Security Agency (NSA), among others are enforcing the state of emergency declared by President George Manneh Weah on April 8.
According to the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), about five persons have died of COVID-19 in the country, while 50 other cases remain active.
“As law enforcement officers given the power and authority to execute such mandate, you should know your fundamental duty is to serve the community, to safeguard lives and properties, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against abuse or disorder, and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.”– Col. Gregory Coleman, Former Inspector General of Police
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page on Sunday, Colonel Coleman reminded the security actors about their fundamental duty to serve the communities and protect lives and properties.
He maintained that the constitutional rights of citizens to liberty, equality and justice must be respected by all security actors.
“As law enforcement officers given the power and authority to execute such mandate, you should know your fundamental duty is to serve the community, to safeguard lives and properties, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against abuse or disorder, and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice”.
The Liberian security expert further warned the soldiers and officers against allowing their personal feelings, political beliefs, aspirations and hatred for others to carry on their assigned task and responsibilities during this emergency period.
He warned the soldiers and officers against allowing their friendships with others to influence their decisions in the wake of exercising their professional duties during the state of emergency which was occasioned as a result of the growing wave of coronavirus deaths and cases in Liberia.
Coleman maintained: “with no compromise for crime and with relentless prosecution of criminals, enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will”.
He further cautioned security actors against “employing unnecessary force or abuse” and accepting gratuities for their services being rendered at this time.
The caveat sounded by the former LNP Inspector-General Coleman comes in the wake of reports of alleged brutalities of unarmed and peaceful civilians during this state of emergency by some security actors.