Liberia: Minister Woods Calls for Review of Human Rights Commission

By: Augustine N. Myers – The Minister of Public Works, Attorney-at-Law Samuel Kofi Woods, II, has called for a comprehensive performance review of the Independent Human Rights Commission of Liberia.

Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods
Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods

Minister Woods who is also former Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, made the comments Saturday, December 10, 2011 when he spoke via telephone with some journalists from Brussels en route to Oslo, Norway for the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony.

He said International Human Rights Day celebrations will have meaning when the legally mandated entity established to provide proper national guidance on human rights issues asserts its authority in a manner and form that assures the protection of all citizens under the law.

He expressed disappointment that the Commission has been mute or virtually paralyzed in the face of several developments in Liberia including the events of March this year when students were brutalized, the November 7 recent developments and the recent amnesty report on the prisons conditions in Liberia and the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, among many others.

He said, on December 10, the public deserves an explanation from an entity that should offer national guidance on their domestic and international obligations on human rights. “While Liberia is making progress, the nation must not be complacent but remain vigilant on those issues that brought us to the brink of destruction,” Minister Woods maintained.

He paid tribute to the Liberian Civil Society, the media, Human Rights and pro-democracy organizations, political institutions, partners and the Liberian people for their resilience but reminded Liberians that they campaigned and rejected violations of human rights in all its forms and cannot afford to slip back. “We condemned and campaigned for this national entity and must not forget that its relevance in today’s Liberia will ensure that we do not reverse the gains made thus far but must consolidate with renewed determination”, Minister Woods outlined.

The former Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission asserted that the success of any nation depends on its political stability where the fundamental right of every citizen is protected and guaranteed under the law.

Human Rights Day is celebrated each year on December 10 to commemorate Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as declared by the United Nations General Assembly’s on 10 December 1948.