Liberia: CPP Accuses President Weah of Prejudicing Investigation Into Police Handling of Anti-Rape Protesters

Hundreds of angry women from various women and youth groups of Liberia took to the streets of Monrovia in protest of the rape amendment bill recently by the Senate.

Monrovia — The opposition Collaborating Political Parties says President George Weah is implicitly giving support to the "brutal and unprofessional" actions of the Liberian National Police against the anti-rape campaigners.

At a news conference, the CPP through its spokesman Lafayette Gould, also accused President Weah of prejudicing future investigation into the conduct of the police when he indicated that there were people among the protesters bent on causing trouble.

Said Cllr. Gould: "This action of the President can be viewed as a reason why no investigation has been conducted into continuous acts of lawlessness against peaceful Liberians by some elements of the Liberian National Police who themselves have had people accused of rape in their ranks. Not only do these continuous violent actions of the Liberian National Police against peaceful Liberians violate provisions of the Liberian Constitution, but they also violate provisions of several International Human Rights Instruments that Liberia is a signatory to;

"including but not limited to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly on 16 December 1966 which commits states parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly; the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter); the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance; etcetera."

The CPP spokesman said as the country approaches the December 8, 2020, Senatorial Midterm Elections, the events of last Friday is a repeat of a sad memory of previous acts of police brutality against Liberians which are yet to be investigated.

"We like to recount the electoral violence in the Montserrado County Districts 13 and 15 By-elections which resulted to the destruction of properties and injured several peaceful Liberians; the killing of a baby in West Point by an Officer of the LNP during the onset of the COVID-19 lockdown; the shooting to death of a young man by Officers of the LNP in 2019; the attack on peaceful protestors of the Council of Patriots (COP), etcetera. These cases of Human Rights Violations and Injustice are reminiscent of those giving rise to previous civil unrest in our country."

Cllr. Gould is urging the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union(AU), and International partners to prevail on the Weah Administration to ensure that this menace of violence is killed before it further degenerates to serious civil unrest. "There are Signs that Liberians are becoming increasingly enraged over the poor performance of the Weah Administration and the growing political tension in neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast provide sufficient reasons to bring pressure to bear on the Weah Administration to end police brutality and all forms of injustices against our people.

Tackling rape

On the issue of tackling the continuous surge in cases of rape across the country, the CPP has requested President Weah to put aside his pride and meet with the organizers of the Anti-rape protests who are entirely Liberians and hear their propositions on ways of addressing the situation.

"We also urge the president to establish a Special Non-Partisan Based National Taskforce on rape; ensure the decentralization of the Specialized Court for Rape in all parts of the country; create rehabilitation and reintegration opportunities for victims of rape, and facilitate a National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on tackling rape."

The CPP added: "As a people, we must also begin to teach our children those values which discourage the culture of rape and impunity, promote responsible citizenship and support all reasonable and legal efforts to end the rape epidemic in our country. We acknowledge the efforts of those anti-rape campaigners. We applaud their efforts to stand up against rape in the face of threats and harassments and assure them of the unflinching support of the CPP in this regard.

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