The Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) and Serving Humanity, Education and Development (SHED) on June 5, 2020 made a presentation of additional medical supplies to the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation (BCR) at the Ministry of Justice, Sinkor in Monrovia, for the use of prison facilities in Margibi and Bong Counties.
The presentation was made to the Ministry of Justice by the Executive Director of RHRAP Lorma Baysah and SHED Executive Director Joyce Pajibo and received by the Ministry represented by a proxy of Assistant Minister Eddie Tarawali of the Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation (BCR), Mr. Foley MacGill who serves as director of prison, and Kutaka Togbeh who also represented the human rights department of the ministry.
In attendance was also was the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) focal person for prisons, Ernest Davis. The MOH extended their thanks and appreciations to the RHRAP, SHED and the EU for their supports and encourage the partners to continue their goodwill to the people of Liberia.
Both RHRAP’s Lorma Baysah and SHED’s Joyce Pajibo extended their gratitude to the Ministry of Justice especially the BCR and the Department of human rights at the MOH and the Prison department of the Ministry of Health for their adequate supports.
RHRAP and SHED, according to a press release, have been ensuring the fast tracking of court hearings in Margibi Prison. The exercise is intended to provide legal representation for prolonged pretrial detainees, which is also helping to reduce prison overcrowdings.
The release quoted the two institutions as saying that the prolong pretrial detainees carried the highest number of inmates within the Liberia prison facilities, which representatives of the two institutions said is a serious democratic deficit in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) of Liberia. “Over the past four years, with funding from the European Union (EU), RHRAP and SHEED have provided supports to the Liberia Prisons including training of Correction Officers in human rights and corrections and record keeping/management, provision of Solar Panels, computers to the Kakata and Gbarnga Prison Facilities, skill training to the inmates of Margibi prison,” the release recounted
The release pointed out that the Programme has also provided based phones to the Gbarnga, Voinjama, Sanniquellie, and Margibi (Kakata, Bondinway) prisons and provided the prisons with refill cards for over three years, which is helping inmates to keep in contacts with their families.
“For the past three years, RHRAP, SHED has been the highest supporter of drug to the Liberian Prison Facilities. On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I want to say a big thank you to them.” Said Mr. Davis at the presentation ceremony.
It can be recalled that with the assistance of ICRC and UNMIL, Liberia did not record any case of the Ebola Virus Disease in prison facilities across the country.
This was due to the urgent and collaborative intervention that was amalgamated by various institutions working for the promotion and protection of the rule of law and fundamental human rights of community residents, especially the prisons. Giving the dangerous nature of the COVID 19, with the pronouncement of the President of the Republic of Liberia about the existence of the virus, and the measures put into placed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) in the fight against COVID 19, the two institutions were moved to make the intervention.