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Liberia: House Takes Steps to Establish African Court On Human and People’s Right

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Monrovia — The House of Representatives has requested its joint committee on Judiciary, Good Governance and Human Rights to review a bill seeking the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

A release issued by the House Press Bureau said Plenary took the decision last Thursday following a communication from President Joseph Boakai which requested the august body to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which seeks the court’s establishment.

In his communication, the Liberian Leader said the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights was established pursuant to Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, adopted in 1998, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

According to the communication, the jurisdiction of the Court shall extend to all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the Charter, the Protocol and any other relevant Human Rights Instrument ratified by the States concerned. The Protocol entered into force on 25 January 2004.

President Boakai disclosed that Liberia is one of the states that participated in the negotiation of the African Charter and the Protocol establishing the Court, adding that Liberia signed the Protocol on June 9, 1998, but has not yet ratified the Protocol.

“As a member of the African Union (AU), an organization with the objective to protect human and peoples’ Rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments, the need to ratify this Protocol cannot be overemphasized”, he added.

The Liberian Leader added that Chapter III, Article 11 of the Liberian Constitution clearly indicates Liberia’s commitment to the protection of human rights as demonstrated by her participation in initiatives aiming at strengthening the normative and institutional frameworks of international and regional human rights systems, and the inclusion in the Liberian Constitution of an enumeration of the fundamental rights that every person is entitled to, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, creed, place of origin or political opinion.

Hon. Speaker, human rights issues have been a topic of discussion in our country every day. Most of our people have cried out that human rights violations have been left unpunished or disregarded.

The ratification of this Protocol would not just enable individuals and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to access this international Court, but will allow Liberia as a State Party, a chance to nominate judges in the bench of the Court, thereby providing an opportunity to shape and contribute to the institutional set-up of the Court and strengthening its capacity to deal with human rights issues brought before it”, he alerted. Meanwhile, the joint committee is expected to report within a period of two weeks.

By New Republic.

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