Protecting Children – Justice Ministry Guards Police on Children Rights
Monrovia – The protection of the rights of many children remains a crucial challenge in homes, communities as well as for law enforcement agencies in the country.
In some instances, reports coming out of prisons and detention centers indicate that children who come in conflict with the law and their adult counterparts are detained in the same cells, an action that requires the violation of the rights of children.
However, the need for Police officers to protect the rights of children who come in conflict with the law has been highlighted at a two-day workshop organized by the Children Protection Section at the Ministry of Justice.
The two-day training which runs from April 21-22 2016 brings together 134 law enforcement officers mainly from the Women and Children and Children Protection Section (WACPS) of the Liberia National Police (LNP) under the theme: “protecting children’s rights to diversion within the child justice system.”
The organizer of the workshop, the Children Protection Section of the Ministry of Justice, in a special statement issued during the opening of the training Thursday, indicated that a culture of violence, crime and impunity characterized the country during its brutal 14-yr civil conflict and that children were drawn into the center of the war as either perpetrators in the form of child combatants or as victims of physical and sexual violence.
The Ministry’s statement also stated that the aftermath of the war testifies to a broken justice system characterized by the absence of an effective structure, mechanisms and tools to facilitate an effective justice delivery but thanks to the country’s partners and donors most especially UNICEF (Liberia) who has continue to support government to strengthen the justice system with emphasis on coming to the aid of children coming in contact and conflict with the law.
“Child protection In Liberia is a major concern that if not addressed would severely affect the ability of the next generation of young people to become productive and useful citizens in our society,” said the statement.
According to the statement, child protection law has been passed into law in Liberia. There has been limited or no implementation of that law up to date due to factors such as lack of budgetary support, coordination among partners, and limited knowledge among citizens on child rights.
At the two –day training, topics to be discussed are understanding how to charge juvenile offenders, the role of child justice system, role of the Police in handling juvenile cases, basic child rights and protection and law enforcement response to child abuse.
Facilitators include Atty. Lafayette Gould, J. Alben Greaves, Det. Supt Alie Bility, Ina Christensen, Miatta Abdullah and Anthony Swen.
Alben Greaves, the head of the Children Protection Section of the Ministry of Justice, stated that the aim and objective of the training is to increase the capacity of WACPS and social workers within the child justice system to promote the protection of children from rights violation and increase access to diversion programs.
Kennedy L. Yangian [email protected]