30 October 2008

Liberia: UN Police Commissioner Unveils New Police Facility

UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Henrik Stiernblad, says statistics available show that gender-based violence cases are now being reported more frequently in Liberia as compared to the past.

Commissioner Stiernblad made this statement in Sanniquellie, the provincial capital of Nimba County, when he handed over the rehabilitated Sanniquellie Police Station and a newly-built Women and Children Protection unit attached to the police station.

He handed the facilities over to Liberia National Police (LNP) Chief of Women and Children Protection Unit, Ms. Benita Warner for the enhancement of rule of law in the area.

Stressing on the importance of women speaking out and reporting crimes of gender-based violence, the UN Police Commissioner said, "This is significant, even when a family member or close relative is involved in the reported crime."

Mr. Stiernblad pointed out that the construction of the unit which is attached to the police station will allow LNP in Sanniquellie to work in a more professional way with these cases.

"The LNP now knows that it is not forgotten and its presence here will be sustained, and assistance to the LNP must be re-enforced through institutional and strategic planning to encourage accountability," he said.

The rehabilitation and construction of the LNP's facilities which were funded by the government of Norway and implemented by the UNDP, is part of Norway's capacity building and institutional support to the LNP in strengthening the rule of law in post-war Liberia.

The Women and Children Protection unit is among several police stations being built and rehabilitated by the Norwegian government throughout the county to assist the LNP in the fight against crimes affecting women and children.

The Norwegian Consul to the Norwegian Embassy in Cote d'Iviore with responsibility for Liberia, Mr. Thorrald Boye, said the Norwegian government attaches importance to the security and safety of Liberians as a key to the development of the country.

On how victims of crimes can seek help from trained professional staff of the LNP, Mr. Boye added that, "the new facilities will be a place to help victims and will also be a place for the prevention and deterrence of crime, and raising awareness on gender-based violence."

LNP Chief of the Women and Children Protection Unit, Ms. Warner called on the citizens of Nimba County to cooperate with the LNP assigned in the area to combat crimes against women and children.

She thanked the Norwegian government for the support to the LNP. Attending the ceremony were local and traditional leaders of Nimba and local LNP officials.

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