Strengthening Democracy and Respect for Fundamental Human Rights of Prisoners in Liberia

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In continuation of promoting fundamental human rights, democratic values and rule of law in Liberia, the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) continue its engagement with community residents of Nimba, Margibi, Bong and Lofa Counties through enhancing their knowledge to understand how the Criminal Justice System (CJS) works. From the 26 – 27 and 29-30 of March 2021, RHRAP organized a two days’ workshop for Community and Religious Leaders of Margibi and Nimba Counties respectively who represented various religious institutions, and various community segments of Margibi and Nimba Counties. The training was focused on the CJS of Liberia focusing on the Criminal Justice Highway starting from arrest -court-prison and parole focusing on the processes of rights holders and duty barriers. Thirty (30) participants from various communities participated in each of the training. The first training was held from the 26-27 of March at the LYONET Youth Center, in Kakata, Margibi County; while the 2nd training was held from the 20-30 for residents of Nimba County at the Ganta Women Center, Ganta City, Nimba County.

The Margibi training was facilitated by Hon. Sabistine Guyon, Stipendiary Magistrate, Bodinway, Firestone, Margibi County; while the Nimba County training was facilitated by Magistrate S. Yarlor Saywon, Stipendiary Magistrate, Ganta City, Nimba County

These two days training is intended to enhance the capacity of community residents at various levels that will enable them to contribute to the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights, rule of law and democratic principles within their communities. This project “Strengthening Democracy and Respect for Fundamental Human Rights of Prisoners in Liberia” is being implemented by the Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) in partnership with Serving Humanity, Education and Development (SHED) who is the project lead with funding from the European Union (EU). This is a three-year project focused on Bong, Margibi and Nimba Counties respectively and is geared towards enhancing the capacity of various actors at various levels which seeks to contribute to an effective Criminal Justice System (CJS), genuine democracy and the implementation of rule of law in Liberia.

Over the past four years, RHRAP in collaboration with SHED have supported the strengthening of the CJS in Liberia at various levels including capacity building trainings to the Police, Correction Officers, and Inmates as well. The program has provided legal representations for prolonged pretrial detainees within the Margibi, Bong, Lofa and Sanniquellie Prisons. As the partners (RHRAP-SHED) continue its advocacy engagements with various government Ministries and Agencies for the improvement of the prisons including structural changes, on several occasions, the program has provided medical supports to the prisons for the use of inmates, the provision of desk phones amongst others. In addition, RHRAP monitors prisons, police withholding cells, court proceedings and used the findings to adequately engage national actors for CJS reforms that supports guanine democratic system that seeks to work for all regardless of status, background, sex, amongst others.

The Rural Human Rights Activists Programme (RHRAP) Inc. is a human rights and peace organization that was established in December 1997 by a group of activists who believed that the message of human rights should be spread into the rural areas so as to educate the rural inhabitants on issues of human rights, peace and social developments. It is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-political organization. For the past years of existence, RHRAP education and advocacy works have been focused on promoting an effective Criminal Justice System, (CJS) using various methodologies. RHRAP is headed by Lorma Baysah who the current Executive Director is.

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