Liberia: National Civil Society Council Concerned about Security Issues in the Mano River Union Region
MONROVIA – The National Civil Society Council of Liberia is deeply worried about the growing wave of unprecedented human rights violations within the Mano River Union basin.
The right to life, dignity, security, affiliation and expression is not obtained through political appeasement but an inherent right guaranteed by the Constitution of Liberia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Council has monitored, and take serious exception on the intervention strategy by the Government of Liberia in resolving and improving salary arears owe to staffers of the Judiciary Branch of Government. The delay in practical administration of approved intervention plan by the government has exacerbated the aggrieved employees of Judiciary branch of our Government. This led to the resumption of protest, with the Lead Campaigner of the aggrieved Judiciary workers setting himself ablaze.
We stand in support of unrestraint protestation and believed this is the unique constitutional and fundamental medium for citizens to express their concerns. We call for timely and drastic action to resolve this impasse.
The Council further takes critical interest in the fast-eroding nature of our economy. The scarcity and deepening harsh economic conditions placed on Liberians due to shortage of Liberian dollar is overwhelming, especially with no proportionate reduction in prices of basic commodities. This hurts households’ capacity to stay afloat during this COVID-19 period. Worse, this uncontrollable economic instability undermines residents’ capacity to respond to social needs – medical, education, food, rent, etc. The national government – either the Central Bank, Ministry of Commence and Industry and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning must morally and own up this situation.
This and other civil service-related matters must be timely resolved prior to the upcoming Midterm Senatorial Elections and Referendum. It helps to reduce or curtail emotional political canvasing and or electoral violence. It is also critical to note that the denial or persistent delay in disbursement of staffers of the Judiciary their just salary and benefits endangers the credibility of the court system. The right to fair and timely trail will be undermined. Likewise, services provided by civil servants will be grossly under-performed and susceptible to bribes and kickbacks. The system must rethink and dedicate itself to the true purpose of reform, right base administration of the government and award citizens and service providers their just benefits within the eyes of the law and human dignity.
The National Civil Society Council requested ECOWAS’ direct mediation and enabling resolution within the context of human rights abuse and emerging political instability in the region. The situation in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire is matter of extreme threats to Mano River Union community. We have engaged ECOWAS Commission Office in Liberia and hope a conversation will be ignited to focus on post-electoral violence in the region. The security and wellbeing of Ivorian refugees in Liberia, and strengthen border communities’ capacity, and measures to contain COVID-19 are fully developed in those places.
The unwillingness or inability of regional governments to provide safe space, uncensored political environment, and free, fair and transparent elections has the greatest propensity to derail the peace, stability, harmony and prosperity of the MRU Basin. If these matters are not resolved, especially in the context of regional and global fundamental laws, Liberia could be the next. If intervention must be done, it must be now.
Happy Thanksgiving Day to all Liberia.
Jeremiah S. Swen
NATIONAL SECRETARY GENERAL
Loretta A. Pope – Kai