Liberia: Prison Fellow-Liberia Ends Workshop Promoting Access to Justice for Community Dwellers in Bong County

Gbarnga — Prison Fellowship-Liberia has ended a two-day workshop on access to justice for community members from across Bong's thirteen administrative districts.

The Country Director of Prison Fellowship-Liberia, Francis Kollie, highlighted in his keynote address that the fact to access to justice is a right and as such community members should seek the legal redress.

He went on to state that 'we need this workshop' and 'look forward to a Liberia in which person's access will remain paramount'. Kollie also said though Liberians have their constitutional rights, the biggest challenge facing the rule of law was accessing those rights. "We have police stations but we feel we have no access to justice. We must take advantage of the rule of law," he said.

The workshop, sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), OHCHR, UN Women, OSIWA and UNICEF, was aimed at encouraging community residents to seek legal matters during violent-related cases, mainly domestic issues, rape, land dispute, among others.

Kollie stressed that community members can only maintain peace when they are empowered, noting that knowledge gained at the two-day event will serve as a tool for community members when the need for access to justice arises.

He said for the past ten years with support from international partners, his organization has worked in maintaining peace mainly in communities. He said they were prepared to work with community members in fact-tracking with the involvement of Prison Fellowship-Liberia and the Judiciary.

The workshop focused on access to justice and examined the challenges being face by community members in seeking justice trial situations.

In her remarks, Bendu L. Kollie, Prison Coordinator for Bong, Nimba and Lofa, hailed Prison Fellowship-Liberia for always working with the justice system in helping so resolve community related cases. "Prison Fellowship-Liberia has really done well over the years. They have been the link between the community and the police mostly when it relates to crimes," she said.

Kollie urged participants of the workshop to always seek the law, stating: "if they can't come to you, you have to go to them," she said. Kollie also asked participants to work "in hand-in-hand with the police and Prison Fellowship-Liberia to help see that justice is served in the community".

Speaking on behalf of participants, Abraham Sumo, town chief of Gbaota, lauded Prison Fellowship-Liberia for the workshop and said it broadened their knowledge on the importance of access to justice.

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