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Liberia reviewed under the UPR
Thursday, 11 November 2010 18:30

 

During the 9th session of the universal periodic review (UPR) which began on 1 November, Liberia was the first country to be reviewed by the Working Group. It was represented by a small yet high-level delegation headed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Ms Christina Tah.

 

During its review, Liberia took the floor three times: once to present its report and a further two times to respond to the questions, comments and recommendations made by States prior to and during the interactive dialogue. In its introductory statement, Liberia noted that its national report was prepared with the involvement of relevant representatives from civil society.

 

While some States were overwhelmingly commending others took the opportunity to express constructive criticism and recommendations. Some States noted the enduring challenges Liberia faced as a result of the longstanding civil conflicts the country recently emerged from, with some countries commending the human rights progress it made despite of these circumstances. These speakers drew attention to Liberia’s efforts to rehabilitate the basic infrastructure of the country, notably rebuilding schools and reinstating compulsory primary education.

 

A number of specific issues were raised frequently by States throughout the interactive dialogue. These included a 2008 law reintroducing the death penalty in contravention of Liberia’s obligations under the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR to which it acceded in 2005. Many States expressed concern about the high levels of sexual and gender-based violence suffered by girls and women, including rape, early marriages and the high prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) performed, particularly in rural areas. During discussions on these issues, CEDAW provisions were frequently invoked by States. Liberia explained that relevant legislation in this area was ineffective and prosecutions were rarely pursued, which discouraged victims to report their cases. On FGM, it argued that this was not a harmful practice and that since it was deeply rooted in tradition, any criticism by the international community in this regard undermined its ‘traditional values’. However, it noted the Government’s efforts to eradicate the practice. States welcomed with caution the establishment in 2005 of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, hoping it would be given the independence and financial resources necessary to fulfil its mandate. Furthermore, States also urged Liberia to address problems of impunity within the framework of the recently established Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

 

In its concluding remarks, Liberia was limited to just five minutes, which it used to underscore its expectations for international assistance, including training and technical assistance to advance the law reform process, enhance the capacity of relevant institutions, assist it in treaty body reporting.

 

The report was adopted without any objections or delay (apart from some amendments to some language in the report). Liberia accepted 71 out of 113 recommendations and 42 recommendations were deferred until the adoption of the report by the Council in March 2011.

 
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2018