The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has embarked on a four-month social mobilization advocacy campaign to ensure equal and unhindered access to justice for all persons in Liberia, especially the poor, with funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Addressing a news conference on Wednesday, September 18, at IREDD office in Monrovia, Deacon Bob Johnson said key component of the project include monitoring performance of justice and security institutions' actors; their investigative processes, actions and inactions particularly, magisterial and circuit courts and police stations in Lofa, Grand Gedeh and Montserrado counties, respectively.
He said the primary objective is to enhance public knowledge of legal information, raise awareness on legal processes, and advocate for justice and security sectors reform to ensure strict compliance with basic principle of law irrespective of status.
"Our advocacy efforts for equal justice for all persons is linked to Pillar three of the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) of the Government of Liberia and Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which deals with Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions as well as other applicable universal protocols and conventions on fundamental rights," Deacon Johnson added.
According to him, to ensure effective monitoring of justice and security institutions in the three counties, IREDD has deployed six monitors to document and report on a weekly basis, performance of justice and security actors. These reports will be consolidated and IREDD will issue monthly performance reports for the next four months, beginning September to December 30, 2019.
He noted that the areas of interest for the campaign include; number of arrest made (with warrant and without warrant), pre-charge detention and length of time in police cells (48hrs or more), protection and respect for suspects' rights, and acquaintance of maranda rights, among others.
Deacon Johnson intimated that IREDD wholeheartedly counts on public collaboration and support, including courts and police authorities as this effort is meant to strengthen and promote respect for the rule of law for all, irrespective of socio-economic status or class in Liberia.