The Inquirer (Monrovia)

27 February 2013

Liberian Businessman Writes Obama

A Liberian businessman, Mr. Samuel M. Gibson, has written United States President Barrack H. Obama relative to an ongoing travel ban to enter the United States despite the lifting of the United Nations (UN) travel restriction.

Mr. Gibson who and several Liberians benefitted from the lifting of the United Nations Travel ban congratulated President Obama for his re-election as President of the United States of America and noted that Liberia feels a particular affinity with the United States because of the special relationship that had existed between the two countries for nearly 200 years.

Mr. Gibson wrote, "However, Mr. President, let me bring to your attention an issue of much concern to me and many of my colleagues. More than 10 years ago we were placed on a United Nations Travel Ban and Assets Freeze regime for what was referred to as 'on-going ties to former Liberian President Charles Taylor, currently convicted of war crimes by a Special Court for Sierra Leone sitting at The Hague."

He further said, "In July 2012, the United Nations lifted the Travel Ban off many of us, but we continue to face difficulties of unusual interrogations when we travel. More especially, we find it extremely difficult to obtain visas from your Embassy in Monrovia, which leaves us with the impression that your government still maintains a separate Travel Ban on us. It is important to note that many of us have extensive business and family relationships with the United States; indeed, some of our children are US citizens and are contributing meaningfully to your country's national interests through service in responsible positions in the military, business and social sectors. We have for many years relied on some of your best doctors and physicians for our annual medical check-ups."

"With the difficulties we now encounter in traveling to the United States, we strongly believe that our human rights are being violated since we are denied the benefit of enjoying special moments such as graduations and important anniversaries with our children and relatives in the United States; not to mention the threat to our health in not being able to seek the best medical attention," Mr. Gibson stated.

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