Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One of every 10 children dies of curable disease in Liberia

December 16, 2009

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says one out of every 10 children born in Liberia die of all forms of curable diseases before reaching the age of 5 years.
The Agency said although there has been some level of improvement in the death rate (child mortality) among children, unlike 6 years ago when mortality rate of children was at 2 out of 10 children.
UNICEF Communication Officer, Louis Vinio, told reporters in Monrovia that there has also been some level of improvement by the government of Liberia in the number of enrollment amongst children in Liberia to about 40-50%.
“For the past 6 years, especially under this administration of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, there has also been some major improvement in protecting and promoting the rights of children in Liberia, but there are still more that needs to be done in putting into place and improved by us as provided in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),” (government and partners), Mr. Vinio said.
The CRC, adopted by the United Nations in 1989 and ratified by the Government of Liberia in 1993, seeks among other things to promote and protect the rights of every child, no matter their sex, colors, religions, ethnic backgrounds etc.
Article 4 of the CRC states, “Governments have a responsibility to take all available measures to making sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. When countries ratify the Convention, they agree to review their laws relating to children, this involve assessing their social services, legal, health and educational systems, as well as levels of funding for these services….”
It further states in article 2 that, “The Convention applies to all children, whatever their race, religion or abilities; whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from. It doesn’t matter where children live, what language they speak, what their parents do, whether they have a disabilities or whether they are rich or poor, and no child should be treated unfairly on any basis”.
The UNICEF Communication Officer said children are mostly portrayed in the media as mere victims of crimes and other forms of abuses and needs to be improved.
“The issue concerning children goes beyond being portrayed as mere street sellers, being out of school, engaged in force labor and being victims of crimes and abuses, but rather there are some positive things that needs to be highlighted as provided in the CRC,” he noted.

170 SGBV cases for prosecution

posted, December 16,2009

The Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Crimes Unit of the Ministry of Justice says since its establishment in February this year, it has recorded at least 170 cases of sexual and gender based violence especially rape over the past 10 months for prosecution.
The Chief Prosecutor of the SGBV Crimes Unit, Cllr. Felicia Coleman said out of the 170 cases, 74 cases were reported through the sgbv hotline established by the Unit and the remaining 96 cases were either reported by parents, relatives or community members, among others.
“Since the establishments of this Unit and the Criminal Court “E”, there were about 17 SGBV cases already on the dockets of other courts that were transferred to this court and we indicted additional 18 persons which came up to 35 cases and of this we’ve prosecuted 4 and one is currently being tried,” the SGBV Chief Prosecutor told reporters recently in Monrovia.
The SGBV Unit was created under the Ministry of Justice to, among other things, initially prosecute and adjudicate cases of SGBV in a special court (Court “E”) and provide rapid investigative and prosecutorial response to complaints of sexual assault, abuse and exploitation in order to justly and fairly hold perpetrators accountable and provide support to victims.
The Unit project is rolled in three phases for 54 months, and the first 18 months will coordinate and prosecute cases exclusively in Montserrado County in the new Criminal Court E.
Cllr. Coleman said the Unit currently has only four prosecutors and needs additional prosecutors in order to carry out its function of speedily prosecuting SGBV cases.
Objective 4 of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) under the Rule of Law and Governance Pillar further challenges the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender and Development to develop and implement measures to ensure protection of vulnerable groups within the justice system, in particular during detention, to address the elderly and those with disability.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Visitation disrupts Police functions

-police boss

December 23,2009

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Marc Amblard said the constant visitation by journalists to police cells around the country disrupts the daily functioning of the police.
“There is nothing we get to hide at various police cells, but we can not allow journalists to visit police cells every other day because it disrupts normal working of the police,” he said.
He urged the journalists to group themselves and communicate with the police in order to be allowed to adequately cover the activities of the LNP.
Mr. Amblard assertion was in response to a question posed to him as to why the police was denying journalists from visiting police cells around the country.
Liberian Journalists for Human Rights and Good Governance (LJHRGG) was among individuals and groups that have been denied visitation by the police in recent times.
The LJHRGG had earlier asked the permission to visit various police cell and detentions centers, but was denied.
According to the communication, the objectives of the visitation were amongst other things, intended to get clearer picture of the condition of these holding cells/detention centers.
There have allegation of series of rights violation and abuses at various police holding cells and the Monrovia Central Prison.
The Justice Ministry recently declared that anyone including journalists wanting to visit the Monrovia Central Prison should bear responsibility of their own security and safety.