Liberia: Children’s Parliament Frowns against Government’s “Total Silence” on Violations against Children

Liberian Children’s Parliament Forum Speaker Prince Saydee and others in a recent protest to call the government attention to abuses against a children

Monrovia – The Liberian Children’s Parliament Forum (LCPF) has frowned at Government of Liberia’s “total silence on the numerous violations against children in Liberia,” during this State of Emergency.

“Where is the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, when violence affecting children in Liberia is committed by some government officials, who are using their powers to deny children Justice?” the LCPF statement, which is signed by its Speaker, Prince Y. Saydee, says.

Saydee and his friends think that delay in getting into these matters will lead to denial for justice.

According to them, Article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,  calls for every child having the right to freedom of expression and this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

They further said in their press statement that as an institution fighting for human rights of Liberian children, they have realized that children are being abused daily.

“As a representation of the children in Liberia, the children’s parliament remains charge with the responsibility to advocate and speak out on issues affecting children in Liberia.”

Saydee said they are bringing it to the attention of the national authorities in line with the 2011 Children’s Law, Article 11 sub session 23.3 (D) that grants them the right as officials to bring to the attention of authorities, organizations concerned with child rights, and the media, any violation against child rights.

He accused the joint security and civilian adults of violence against children during this State of Emergency and before.

One of three kids who were involved in the accident with the Deputy Justice Minister for Codification

Saydee listed some of what the parliament thinks are brutalities against children for which they must speak out against. “The brutal action of the Liberia National Police by allegedly shooting one of Liberia’s future leaders, in Kingsville Township, District #1, Montserrado County.

“Student Abraham Toure was shot by an officer of the LNP during a call out for justice and speedy trial by peaceful citizens of the Kingsville Township over the alleged ritualistic murder of a nine-year-old boy and a ten-year-old girl in the same district.”

Among his many charges, he stated that violent acts have been meted out against children as far back as 2011. “A 38-year-old Victor Trokon, an officer of the Liberia National Police was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in Paynesville. On July 17, 2012, a police officer call Harry Bai, who was assigned at the James Payne Police Deport in Sinkor was accused of rape.

“On January 13, 2019, a senior Liberian police officer was jailed for allegedly raping his 9-year-old step daughter.”

Commenting on some of recently happenings, LFPF condemned the act allegedly committed by LNP Officer Sonie Jallah, who allegedly kicked a hot water pot and wasted the boiling water on a three-year-old toddler, which resulted to his death in West Point on Monday, April 20th. Little Francis Mensah died few days following the incident, which occurred when state security personnel were enforcing observance of the State of Emergency.

“Secondly, on March 1st 2020 three children were involved into a tragic motor accident involving the Deputy Minister for Codification at the Ministry of Justice, Cllr. Nyenati Tuan. Currently the Minister is defending his action as rightful act and using his power as Minister to deny the kids justice. We have gone 70 days without justice for the kids and lack of proper medication for the kids.”

“Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when children are being exploited? Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when children are being sexually harassed? Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when police brutality against women and children are on the increase daily? Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when children are marginalized? Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when children are traffic from the rural parts of Liberia to the urban areas in the name of going to school but are later turned to street child selling and vulnerable to society? Is this the ‘Change for Hope’ they told us about when child labor is practiced every day and on an increasing rate?

They again called on the authorities for speedy trials of all cases involving children, including investigation and Justice for Mrs. Jamesetta Taylor’s three children, who were in the accident involving the deputy Justice Minister.

“We hope the justice system specifically the (police/court) will not and must not compromise these cases. They have been doing a good job; we think there is a need to do more with investigation in order to protect the lives of children.” The Liberian National Children’s Parliament Forum came into existence by Act of the Legislature nine years ago in 2011. The act seeks for children protection, education, health, survival, growth and development. It promotes children’s participation, forbids violence against children, frowns on the usage of children in trafficking, child labor, early child marriage, children on the move, stateless children, sexual exploitation and abuse, children deprivation, children discrimination, and all odds against the well-being of all children.