Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF
Monday, 4 May 2015 (Afternoon)
(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)
State under review
The delegation was headed by Ms. Julia Duncan-Cassell, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Liberia.
To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Liberia page on UPR website.
Gabon, Russian Federation, Viet Nam.
Opening statement by State under review
Few points raised in the opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Liberia page on UPR Extranet **)
- Liberia has marked a number of notable achievements since its first UPR four years ago;
- In 2011, the country held its second peaceful national presidential and legislative elections since the end of the civil war in 2003. In 2013 the country observed ten years of peace;
- The Government developed a national security strategy in light of the anticipated draw down of the UN Mission in Liberia which enhanced human rights compliance within the security sector;
- Ensuring access to justice was also a key component of the strategy, provided for through the progressive establishment of justice and security regional hubs, which aimed to enhance service delivery particularly outside the capital city of Monrovia;
- Liberia has also implemented a number of policies to strengthen the rule of law and foster the protection of human rights; these include the Reconciliation Roadmap, which implements recommendations made by Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
- Other policies included the Agenda for Transformation, which prioritised development of the justice sector and addressed cross-cutting issues impacting upon human rights and vulnerable groups; and the National Human Rights Action Plan, which provided for the implementation of Liberia’s regional and international human rights obligations and of the recommendations made during the UPR;
- Liberia also ratified a number of human rights and human rights related instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2012, and the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in 2014;
- Liberia was also taking steps to address its backlog in treaty reporting, and was currently in good standing with regard to reports due under the CRC and CEDAW; The Government developed a National Strategy on meeting treaty obligations, including treaty reporting, to address other outstanding reports.
- Moreover, the Government has begun the process of issuing a Standing Invitation to the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council;
- Liberia’s Independent National Commission on Human Rights, established in 2010, has trained a number of human rights monitors, and has begun implementing the Palava Hut program, a critical initiative of the Reconciliation Roadmap;
- Among the various challenges facing the Government was the outbreak of Ebola which has posed the most serious threat to national stability since the end of the fourteen year civil war;
- Ebola’s impacts have been wide-spread, particularly on Liberia's economy and health infrastructure. The Minister remarked that Liberia was only a few days from being declared Ebola-free.
In total 76 States participated in the dialogue: 31 HRC members and 45 observers (Statements available on Liberia page on UPR Extranet).
Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:
- The launch of the 2013 national human rights action plan;
- The 2010 creation of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights;
- The 2012 ratification of the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities;
- The 2012 launch of the Strategic Roadmap for National Healing, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation;
- The conduct of the fair and peaceful elections of 2011;
- The improving climate for freedom of expression and the Independent Information Commission’s creation in 2013;
Issues and Questions
Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:
- The effects of the Ebola outbreak on all aspects of life in the country;
- Sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and female genital mutilation;
- The fact that Liberia had not abolished the practice of the death penalty;
- The persistence of child labour;
- Trafficking of women and children;
- Access to healthcare;
States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Liberia. These pertained to the following issues, among others:
- To continue the fight against gender-based violence and to criminalize female genital mutilation;
- To abolish the death penalty;
- To align Liberia’s national laws with its international obligations;
- To repeal laws criminalizing same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults and violence;
- To continue to improve access to basic health care services;
- To issue an open invitation to Special Procedures;
- To facilitate access to free basic education to all children;
- To continue the strengthening of the judicial system ;
- To take the necessary measures to bring the national human rights’ commission in line with the Paris Principles;
- To repel laws that restrict the rights and activities of human rights defenders;
- To allow women to transmit their nationality to their children;
- To intensify efforts to ensure gender equality;
- Ratification of human rights instruments: the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers; the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Optional Protocols to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict; the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, child Prostitution and Child Pornography; the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
Adoption of report of Working Group
The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Liberia is scheduled to take place onFriday, 8 May 2015.
*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.
** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password