The Human Rights Advocacy Platform says its attention has been drawn to incidents of abuses in recent times in the country where citizens continue to witness violence amounting to human rights concerns as a result of protests, a release said on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
"The Human Rights Advocacy Platform, a network working exclusively on human rights issues in Liberia, wishes to draw the attention of the government (State) and the citizenry to growing human rights issues relating to protest under the current administration," the release said.
Accordingly, the group said from our observations, it appears that protests have become the fastest medium through wish immediate redress to the growing demands by citizens within different sectors of the Liberian society can be assured and addressed.
It can be recalled that a few weeks ago, Liberia witnessed the gathering of health workers in demand of their salaries and benefits. Also, at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, another protest ensued, demanding that Jestina Taylor leave the hospital to attend to her visa appointment at the US Embassy in Monrovia. And again on October 15, 2019, public school students of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) protested in solidarity of their teachers' salaries and benefits due them.
According to the group's release, the aftermath of the protests at both the Catholic Junction and that of October 15, 2019, was violent, leading to a wide range of injuries among protesters as a result of state security's response in the use of excessive force on unarmed civilians.
"Even though students were seen throwing stones and disrupting other schools' normal classes, the right to protest is allowed and enshrined in our Constitution and other international laws that Liberia subscribes to, as evidenced by Article 17 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), and Article 19 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)," the statement said.
"We, the human rights community, categorically condemn all forms of violence, and therefore call on the Government of Liberia to take immediate responsibility to set up an independent body, to investigate all incidents of protests in recent times - prior to, during and after the protest with respect to human rights and the fostering of the rule of law," the release said.