Government of Liberia Rejects Human Rights Report
The Government of Liberia is shocked by a report from the Human Rights Watch in which it is alleged that the government is not doing enough to contain cross border attacks from Liberia into La Cote D’Ivoire, and to stop the recruitment of children from being used in these cross border attacks.
The Government strongly denies the claims and points to the numerous initiatives by the government to engage with Ivorian authorities, the United Nations Missions in Liberia and the Mission in La Cote D’Ivoire, so as to mitigate and eliminate the threats of insecurity to both countries posed by the presence of non-state actors along the vast border areas between Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire.
According to Lewis Brown, Liberia’s Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, “Liberia has no incentive to either threaten its neighbors or encourage attacks against other countries.” He asserted that the Liberian government has and will continue to pursue a decided policy which prohibits even an inch of Liberian soil from being used to destabilize a neighboring country. This policy is repeatedly exemplified in President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Chairperson of the Mano River Union and Liberia’s participation in numerous regional, continental and global efforts for peace, democracy and security.
“Our experience has shown that the short and long term interests of our region and our countries are best preserved by investing in peace and security, at home and in our sub-region. This is why Liberia and La Cote D’Ivoire have been deeply engaged, at the highest levels, in meetings growing out of which a joint-security cross border operation involving the relevant authorities of the two countries and the UN military missions in both countries is to be carried out shortly”, the Minister said.
The Liberian Information Minister also pointed to the fact that “extradition proceedings are being advanced through the courts to return suspected individuals arrested on the Liberian side to La Cote D’Ivoire for possible prosecution.” This follows the recent return, to Ivorian authorities, of vehicles confiscated by the Liberian authorities.
The Minister also pointed out that had the Human Rights Watch bothered to speak with authorities of both countries, it would have easily confirmed the extent of consultation which is ongoing between the two countries; the nature of the agreements reached; and the level of commitments which are being demonstrated by practical actions by both sides to be raid of these non-state actors who are actually threatening the peace and security of Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire.
Minister Brown concluded that “Liberia hopes that it would not need to persuade anyone that a threat of insecurity to La Cote D’Ivoire which is coming from along Liberia’s border is a threat to Liberia’s own security. If there is a country on the face of the earth which is determined to neither support nor facilitate cross border attacks with its neighbors, that country is Liberia.”
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