– Nat Nyuan Bayjay
Source: FrontPage Africa
Geneva, Switzerland –
|Senator Adolphus Dolo
aka General Peanut Butter
The United Kingdom (UK) had one clear message for the Liberian delegation that was proving Liberia’s human rights case: that it totally dislikes the high level of impunity with which individuals enlisted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report continue to not only parade the streets but also continue to serve in high public and most often electable posts.
The concern stretches to the extent that the British Government, via its Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland could not help recommending that the Liberian Government must consider implementing the most serious atrocities committed during the civil war as outlined in the TRC document.
The UK noted that the impunity has given birth to a growing sense of injustice amongst Liberians that has led to individuals responsible for committing such atrocities being rewarded with an office at the National Legislature.
“There is a growing sense of injustice amongst the population about the impunity that the perpetrators of violence on a national scale are able to act under, even to the extent that they are able to hold positions in the Senate”, said the UK’s UN Mission during Liberia’s presentation of its human rights review recently in Geneva.
The Liberian delegation, led by Justice Minister Christiana Tah, had gone to present the country’s UN Human Rights Council’s initiated Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism in which all 192 UN member states are reminded of their responsibilities of fully respecting and implementing all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of the new mechanism’s ability is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur by reviewing the human rights records of member states which is done every four years.
The UK, a global giant, insisted that Tah and delegation should return home with the message that it is interested in seeing the recommendations of the TRC Report with implications of grave atrocities be given priorities in terms of implementation in a bid to discourage the growing sense of injustice and impunity with which the Report seems to be slowly but surely dying.
“We hope that the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in relation to the most serious atrocities committed during the civil war are acted upon. We encourage Liberia to address this as a priority, including bringing cases to court where appropriate, to demonstrate no-one has impunity”, said the UK UN Permanent Mission to a batch of nodding Liberian delegates.
Responding defensively, Attorney-General Tah told the world body that the Liberian government has taken concert measures to ensure the recommendations of the TRC: “The government set up the Independent National Human Rights Council. There is also a TRC Task Force which is empowering civil societies and other groupings.”
During her last reporting on the Report almost two months ago, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told of the expansion of the Task Force established to review the legal and constitutional implications of the TRC recommendations to include the National Bar Association.
The TRC was favored over a war tribunal during 2003’s Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) as the best solution to healing the country’s 14 years of civil conflict. It was to address war crimes and gross human rights violations including violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws during the course of the Liberian crisis dating from 1979 to 2003.
Nat Bayjay was one of three Liberian journalists who qualified to attend the 9th Session of the United Nation Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review under the sponsorship of by Media21 in Geneva, Switzerland. Festus Poquie of the New Democrat Newspaper and Torwon Sulonteh-Brown of UNMIL Radio were the other two Liberian journalists who also attended the Geneva Session.