Police Brutality on the Rise

-Human Rights Commission
By: 
Keith Morris

The wave of police brutality across the country is fast becoming alarming, compelling the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) to institute measures to curtail the occurrence.

Addressing a news conference in Monrovia yesterday, INCHR Chairperson, retired Associate Justice Gladys K. Johnson expressed serious concern over the number of human rights violations attributed to the Liberian National Police (LNP), stressing that something must be done to save the image of the state.

Based on mountains of allegations and complaints from ordinary Liberians, particularly motorcyclists and youths in concession areas, the rights body has named a team of investigators to be dispatched to Butaw, Sinoe County, where there was rioting involving some residents and police, Ms. Johnson announced.

According to Chairman Johnson, one of the Commission’s investigators is due in the region shortly to launch a “comprehensive and independent investigation into unfolding events.”

She noted that the move is part of “our mandate to promote and protect human rights in Liberia consistent with national and international legal instruments.” Investigating all human rights abuses remain a cardinal part of INHRC’s operations, she noted.

Even though the INHRC has recruited eight investigators to be stationed in Montserrado, the lack of adequate budget support to undertake these initiatives is a challenge that needs to be overcome, Madam Johnson asserted.
“We want to investigate all human rights issues in the country, but there is serious constraint with the budget to support all of our programs.

“We have made appeals to the Legislature and others involved with the budget process, but Ebola and the budget shortfall last year hampered our work,” the former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court said.

According to Commissioner Johnson, “US$30 million is needed to run the commission properly, and as such, we are reaching out to everyone to generate the needed funds.

Meanwhile, the Commission will today hold a day-long awareness forum to educate and inform the public about the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations with a view to soliciting public support in carrying out the INHRC’s functions.

The palava hut approach is part of a Strategic Roadmap for national healing, peace building and reconciliation launched in 2013.

The move is in keeping with the Commission’s mandate as enshrined in the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord signed in 2003.
INCHR also has a mandate to ensure the full implementation of the TRC recommendations.

Liberian Observer

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