The family of teenager Odell Sherman who was found dead at the home of a pastor, is upset at the length of time authorities are taking to complete their findings, before her body is released for burial.
The family and relatives of the late Odell Sherman were, to their shocking surprise on yesterday, informed by the management of the St. Moses funeral parlors that they would not take possession of their late daughter's remains for interment which had been planned for Saturday August 24, 2019.
Agnes Taylor, the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor, denies string of torture offences, which date back to 1989-1991.
Liberia's former first lady is set to appear in court in Britain accused of a string of torture offences and human rights violations. Agnes Taylor, the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor, has denied all the charges, which date back to Liberia's civil war almost 20 years ago. In 2012, her former husband was sentenced by The Hague to 50 years in prison for aiding rebels who committed atrocities in neighbouring Sierra Leone.
By; Al Jazeera's Catherine Stancl
African official Musa Hassan Bility receives 10-year ban for breaching football authority's code of ethics.
African football official Musa Hassan Bility has been banned from the game for 10 years by FIFA's Ethics Committee following an investigation into the finances of the Liberian Football Association (LFA). Bility is a former LFA president and a current member of the executive of the Confederation of African Football (CAF). He has been critical of the recent steps taken by FIFA to take a more direct role in the running of African football.
The second Liberian civil war began 20 years ago this month. All told, the conflicts that ravaged Liberia from the beginning of the first civil war in 1989 to the end of the second in 2003 resulted in the deaths of some 250,000 men, women and children, the displacement of more than 1 million civilians and the destruction of much of the country’s infrastructure.
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) deployed in 2003 to help the country rebuild, and stayed until its mandate ended last year. By most accounts UNMIL was a success, shepherding in over a decade of peace and three consecutive democratic elections. What do we know now about the effects of international intervention to keep peace and restore the rule of law in Liberia and other war-wracked nations?
In a recent article in International Organization, I argue that one of UNMIL’s most important legacies is also one of its most underappreciated. Beyond the lives lost and livelihoods destroyed, the Liberian civil wars shattered the already-strained relationship between citizens and the Liberian government, especially the police and courts.
By the time the fighting stopped in 2003, few Liberians trusted the government to protect them from threats or help them resolve disputes. Where the rule of law is strong, citizens are willing to rely on the police and courts when crimes are committed or violence occurs.
In Liberia, that trust was gone
UNMIL was instrumental in repairing this broken social contract. The mission restructured the police and courts from the ground up, recruiting officers and judges and deploying them to posts around the country. Equally important, UNMIL engaged with citizens on a face-to-face, day-to-day basis to persuade them to give the police and courts another chance.
UNMIL conducted public awareness campaigns to spread the word about ongoing security and justice sector reforms. It organized town hall meetings to encourage cooperation with the police. And it helped the police reestablish contact with citizens through joint patrols and co-deployments in the most remote regions of the country.
These efforts paid off. In my research I draw on surveys with more than 13,000 Liberians between 2008 and 2012. The surveys served multiple purposes. They were the basis for an evaluation of an alternative dispute resolution program in Liberia, and for a pilot early warning system for riots and other types of local violence. But the surveys also produced a wealth of data on Liberians’ attitudes towards their own government, as well as their interactions with UNMIL personnel.
UNMIL helped restore confidence in the rule of law
Here’s what I discovered: The more frequently citizens interacted with UNMIL personnel, the more willing they were to rely on the police and courts to adjudicate the most serious incidents of crime and violence. Like other studies documenting the effects of seemingly mundane peacekeeping activities, I find that UNMIL’s impact depended in part on routine patrols, public works projects and interventions to resolve disputes
I also find that UNMIL’s presence reduced reliance on the Liberian practice of “trial by ordeal” — an illegal but still widely used method to determine the identity of suspected criminals. In one common variation, a heated cutlass is pressed against the skin of the accused. If he burns, he’s guilty; if not, innocent.
The United Nations has long viewed trial by ordeal as a violation of human rights and due process protections. While UNMIL did not eradicate the practice, the mission helped reduce its prevalence.
My results echo the findings of several other studies testing UNMIL’s impact at the local level. Recent research has shown that UNMIL’s presence strengthened the vote share of national over “parochial” candidates for political office, and increased Liberians’ interest in politics and faith in the political process.
UNMIL training also paved the way for Liberian police officers to conduct outreach of their own through initiatives like the Confidence Patrols program, which further closed the gap between citizens and the police. These studies complement other work showing the local benefits of peacekeeping in Mali, Haiti, Cote d’Ivoire and elsewhere.
UNMIL personnel were hardly saints, however
UNMIL troops and police officers engaged in transactional sex with Liberian women, exhibited bias against members of particular ethnic or religious groups and were sometimes slow to respond to emerging threats, especially in the early days of the peacekeeping mandate. And, even after 15 years of reform, the Liberian police and courts remain rife with corruption and petty bribe-seeking.
Some commentators, including high-level U.S. policymakers, have pointed to problems like these as evidence of peacekeeping failure. But criticism of UNMIL’s shortcomings may obscure a record of often remarkable success.
The question is not whether Liberian institutions are now perfectly functional — they are not — or whether citizens’ trust in them has been completely restored. It has not. Instead, perhaps the question to ask today, 20 years after violence broke out anew, is whether Liberia is better off than it would have been had UNMIL never deployed, and whether the investment in peace and the rule of law was worth it.
Robert A. Blair (@robert_a_blair)i s the Joukowsky Family Assistant Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University, and also a Junior Faculty Fellow in Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research focuses on international intervention and the consolidation of state authority after civil war, with an emphasis on rule of law and security institutions.
Justice Ministry Sets Up ‘Bottlenecks’ for June 7 Protest; Demands Legal Registration from Council of Patriots
The Ministry acknowledged receipt of the April 24 letter from the Advisors of Council of Patriots seeking permit and security to stage a peaceful protest in keeping with Article 17 of the Constitution, but noted that such permit would be granted to a legally registered corporation or association.
In a press conference held on Tuesday at Roots FM in Monrovia, members of the Council of Patriots said, “The purpose of our assembly is not to call for the step down of George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia. The goal is to demand meaningful reforms that will lead to the improvement of the living standards of Liberians.”
The Council of Patriots noted that their decision to protest is fueled by wanton neglect of the government to live up to its social contract towards ordinary citizens.
But the Ministry of Justice in response said, it is “under legal obligation to deal with institution/association registered and existing under the laws of Liberia, by and through their legal offices, as we request that you provide us legal documentation, establishing legal status as ‘Council of Patriots’, either as a duly incorporated or unincorporated association in pursuant to the requirements of the Associations Law of Liberia.”
The Justice Ministry’s letter also further stated that the Associations Law require that every corporation shall have a president, secretary and a treasurer who shall be appointed by the Board or in the manner directed by the articles of incorporation or the bylaws. While the Section 41.2 of the Associations Law further states “Every unincorporated association after its organization shall execute a certificate, signed, sworn to by its president and treasurer stating the names of such incorporated association; date of its organization, number of its members, names and residences of its officers and a description of the purpose its organization.”
The Council of Patriots to the Justice Ministry was signed by Senator Oscar Cooper, Advisor, Senator Sando Johnson, Advisor, Sanjee A. Stepter, Member and Rufus D. Neufville, Member.
However, the Ministry of Justice argued that advisors and members do not qualify as officers for the purpose of representing a corporation and/or an unincorporated association. “Therefore, to ensure compliance, the request should be made through the statutory officers of the ‘Council of Patriots’, after having provided documentation to the MOJ that the said organization is duly constituted and existing under the laws of the Republic of Liberia. Alternatively, you may elect to submit the request in your individual names, as a group of citizens.”
They were sent to Morocco for study by the the Government of Liberia, which promised to take care of them. But now, they say, they are living in hell.
This situation is the story of 84 Liberian students studying various disciplines in Morocco on a government scholarship, who say they have been neglected by their benefactors, to suffer in a foreign country.
”We are suffering and, every day that passes by, things are getting worse to the extent that we are not getting any word from our government back home, neither the embassy officials here. Unlike other scholarship students here, we are living a double life; we have to study to score the required grade points, and at the same time, we have to hustle to find food for ourselves,” John Singbae II informed the Daily Observer.
Student Singbae is one of the leaders of the Liberian students in Morocco. He informed this newspaper that their current situation makes them feel as though they are being neglected by the Liberian government, most especially authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE), “because we have informed them through various means of communication and on numerous occasions. Yet they have not intervened.”
While narrating further their present hardship, Singbae added that a year ago, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the MOE for a monthly allowance of at least US$300 for each student’s bills, including rental fee for an apartment, electricity, water, transportation, and feeding; however, they have not received a dime from the government since then.
“In November 2018, the government sent 54 students to join the 30 others already in Morocco to study different disciplines, but since the students arrived there, the GoL has not lived up to the terms and conditions of the MoU.
“Since last year up to now, students here have not received a cent from the government, nor has the government communicated to us about the cause of the delay in remitting our monthly allowances,” Singbae lamented.
He also said the situation has made life unbearable for the Liberian students studying on the government’s scholarship, as they cannot afford electricity and water bills, transportation to go for classes, or even find food to eat.
“Worst of all,” Singbae said, “when any of our colleagues become ill, that student is left at the mercy of God, because of the obvious reason: there is no money for medication.”
He said at present, three of the students are down with various ailments for the last two months; but because there are no monthly allowances, they have not been to the hospital, rather looking up to divine intervention.
“As it stands, we are experiencing real hard time, and there has been no concern from the Liberian government despite our engagements with the authorities,” Singbae said.
The young Liberian scholar further explained that the situation has forced some of his colleagues to start asking their parents back home for monthly allowances, but such help is not forthcoming.
“To survive, we have to find a way to get money for food and transportation — a condition which, in itself, has defeated the essence of the scholarship,” he said.
To further exacerbate the situation, some of the students have received warning notices from the Moroccan authorities to pay their water bills or else they will be switched off from the country’s water and electricity main lines.
Latim DaThong, Deputy Education for Administration, who corroborated the students’ woes, informed our reporter that the government is working on the situation.
“We are working on the situation, and very soon (in a week or two), we will make the funds available,” DaThong told this newspaper via mobile phone.
President George Weah is currently chairing a meeting with members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Governing Council.
This Council came into existence in 2017 after three political parties formed a coalition — CDC — which won the 2017 General and Presidential Elections and made George Weah ascend to the nation’s Presidency. The parties in the Coalition include Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of the current President, National Patriotic Party (NPP) of former President Charles Taylor and Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
The Governing Council are all members of the Executive Committee of the coalition, which includes, chairs of the three parties, political leaders, secretary generals, vice chairs amongst others.
It is not yet clear why the meeting was called.
However, over the weekend, the President, who is chairing the first Council Meeting since assuming power on January 22, 2018, asked members of the Coalition Governing Council; the Coalition Executive Committee; Executive Committees & Members of collaborating political parties, members of the Cabinet, the Montserrado Chapter of the Coalition for Democratic Change, the Coalition’s Revolutionary Nat’l Youth League, the Coalition’s Women League, the National Coordinator’s Council & Zonal Heads of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Standing & Ad-hoc Committees of the Coalition for Democratic Change, the Coalition’s Nat’l Auxiliaries Network, the Coalition’s Disable-League, members, sympathizers & supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change to come to the Meeting.
Multiple sources within the administration have hinted FrontPageAfrica that the top agenda items will likely include the dismal state of the economy, countering a planned June 7 protest and consultations over a long-anticipated shake-up of the government.
READ MORE........ FrontPageAfrica.com
Harbel, Liberia – After a thorough and strategic review of its current operations in Liberia, West Africa, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, an indirect subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., has announced the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by 13% (approximately 800 employees) by early second quarter (Q2) of 2019 at the company’s Firestone Liberia operation. Headcount reductions will take place throughout the company’s operations, and include retirements, the discontinuation of certain work contracts, and redundancies.
“This action is necessary due to continued and unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company’s Concession Agreement with the Government of Liberia, low natural rubber production because of the country’s prolonged Civil Wars and continued low global natural rubber prices,” the company said in a press release issued Monday afternoon, March 18.
Firestone Liberia says it has been working closely with the Ministry of Labor and the Agricultural Agro-Processing and the Industrial Workers Union of Liberia (AAIWUL) to ensure that employees made redundant as part of this action will be done so in accordance with all applicable Liberian labor laws, company policies, and the company’s collective bargaining agreement with AAIWUL.
“Unfortunately, these measures alone will not be enough to restore Firestone Liberia to profitability. As a result, the company will continue to evaluate all aspects of its business to ensure long-term competitiveness and determine the best allocation of company resources to optimize our portfolio, processes and culture,” the release said.
by Ola Salem & Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath
Amid pressure, White House announces it is extending temporary protections for some 4,000 Liberians in US for a year.
Washington, DC - When Rose Knuckles Bull came to the United States in 1999, her home country of Liberia was beginning to experience its second civil war.
The first, which lasted from 1989 through 1996, killed some 200,000 people and displaced about half the population. The second war ended in 2003, but both conflicts created a devastating humanitarian situation that further complicated matters when Ebola broke out in 2014.
After coming to the US on a visitor's visa, Knuckles Bull was given Temporary Protective Status (TPS) under a programme that provides protections to individuals unable to return to their home countries usually due to wars or natural disasters. She was later given Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) protections, which gave Liberians the right to work and live in the US, but no path to citizenship.
In March 2018, US President Donald Trump said he was ending DED, giving an estimated 4,000 Liberians in the US a year - until March 31, 2019 - to either leave the US on their own and or risk deportation.
On Thursday, as the deadline loomed, and amid increased pressure by politicians, lawyers and the Liberian community, the White House announced it was extending the "wind-down period" for the expiration of DED for another year.
"Upon further reflection and review, I have decided that is is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to extend the wind-down period for an additional 12 months ... The overall situation in West Africa remains concerning and Liberia is an important regional partner for the United States," Trump said in a statement announcing the extension.
"The reintegration of DED beneficiaries into Liberian civil and political life will be a complex task, and an unsuccessful transition could strain United States-Liberia relations and undermine Liberia's post-civil war strides toward democracy and political stability," the president added.
Knuckles Bull, who lives in New York, expressed cautious optimism upon hearing about the extension. She told Al Jazeera the rollercoaster of emotions and the financial strain of having to reapply several times for work authorisation has created repeated stress over the last 20 years.
"[Trump] is just giving us time to be here, he's not absorbing us into the system," she said by telephone.
Other individuals and groups that have been organising over the past year to pressure the Trump administration to extend the deadline declared victory, but said a permanent solution needed to be found. Yatta Kiazolu, a Liberian DED recipient who recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that "we are still in the fight for a permanent solution because we still have lives after March 31st, 2020".
Ellison blamed Congress for the looming deportation order by failing to pass comprehensive immigration reforms. "In reality a lot of these folks in a functioning Congress would be citizens right now or on a path to citizenship," he told Al Jazeera. "Now we have to fight in the courts." Hannah Graf Evans, a legislative representative for immigration and refugee policy at Friends Committee on National Legislation, agreed, saying the problem with DED was that it locked Liberians under its protection from getting other visa statuses or citizenship, she said.