Over 40 Top Security Officers Undergo Election Security Management Training
The Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) and its partners have begun the training of over 40 top security officers, including regional and county commanders of the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) on election security management ahead of the October 10, 2023 general and presidential elections.
Launching the start of the training, the Deputy Commissioner for Human Resource, Liberia National Police (LNP), Fitzgerald Biago, cautioned all security actors to provide equal and impartial protection for all political parties and citizens during the ensuing October 10 election.
Deputy Commissioner Biago reminded fellow security officers that the primary concern of all state security agencies is to provide maximum protection for all citizens, including candidates and election actors.
He made the statement on Thursday, August 10, 2023 at the opening ceremony of a two-day election security management training for senior LNP, LIS, LDEA and LNFS officers at the Regional Security Hub in Gbarnga, Bong County.
“The will of the people is the authority of government, and it is that will we are call to respect and protect,” the DCP said.
He underscored that the October 10 election is a litmus test for Liberian security officers since the departure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which hugely supported the 2005, 2011 and 2017 elections.
“We must not underestimate how important this election is; that is why we must exhibit a very high standard of integrity and professionalism, and act in a way that promote human rights in the discharge of our duties,” the police officer added.
He praised regional and county commanders for the sacrifices they made during the biometric voter registration to ensure that the process was peaceful.
“I must thank you for the level of work you did during the BVR process. Some of you spent your personal finances to deploy officers in the field. Some of you chattered bikes and vehicles. I must thank you for that. All these sacrifices are for the Liberian people who are our priorities,” officer Biago said.
Speaking on behalf of the OHCHR Country Representative, Christian Mukosa, Atty. Roosevelt Jayjay, told participants that the October 10 general and presidential elections will be the first post-war election primarily organized and administered by Liberia without large-scale international support.
He noted that the election presents a significant opportunity to not only consolidate Liberia’s democratic gains, but to also entrench and build on them.
“In the electoral context, it is required that security forces strive to ensure that all citizens benefit from elections that are administratively sound and free of any disruptive forces that seek to undermine the expression of popular will,” the OHCHR human rights officer noted.
He informed the participants the OHCHR, UNDP and partners intend to provide election management training for the LNP and other joint security officers on effective election security management, in order to enhance their capacity to prevent, manage and respond to potential security threats before, during and after election processes to prevent gross human rights abuses and violations.