Editorial : Significant Human Rights Issues
Liberia 2022 Human Rights Report Verbatim
THERE WERE REPORTS that members of the security forces committed some abuses. Significant human rights issues included credible reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings; cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest or detention; serious problems with the independence of the Judiciary; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats of violence against journalists; serious government corruption; lack of investigation and accountability for gender-based violence, including child, early, and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation/cutting.
IMPUNITY CONTINUED FOR individuals who committed human rights abuses, including atrocities during two civil wars, as multiple investigative and audit reports were ignored. The government made intermittent but limited attempts to investigate and prosecute officials accused of abuses during the year, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government. Impunity continued for government corruption.
THERE WERE SEVERAL reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. Killings by police are investigated by the Professional Standards Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and then forwarded to criminal courts for prosecution.
IMPUNITY WAS A significant problem in the security forces. Allegations of police harassment or abuse are referred to the LNP Professional Standards Division for investigation. The Civilian Complaint Review Board, which includes representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), is empowered by law to review complaints against the LNP and Immigration Service. Observers stated some security force members believed they were above the law and were aided by a judicial system that rarely convicted and punished abusive officers. The government provided some training to increase respect for human rights by the security forces.
PRISON CONDITIONS REMAINED harsh and life threatening due to gross overcrowding, food shortages, inadequate sanitary conditions and poor medical care. Gross overcrowding continued to be a problem, particularly at Monrovia Central Prison (MCP), which held 1,426 inmates in a facility originally built for 374. At times, prisoners were required to sleep in shifts due to overcrowding. The Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) stated that prison overcrowding was caused mainly by prolonged pretrial detention, especially at the MCP, delay in preparing indictments for felony cases, and difficulties in transferring case files from magisterial court to circuit court.