Human Rights, in its moral and legal context, can indisputably be defined as a justifiable claim, on legal or moral grounds, to have or obtain something, or to act in a certain way for the recognition of one’s status in society.
Such statuses in society finding themselves in the rights and freedoms of mankind, encompasses the rights to life, liberty and security of person, to a fair trial, to privacy, to protection as a child, to be given a vote and to participate in public affairs, to equal treatment, protection and recognition before the law including presumption of innocence and right to appeal.
Whilst the latter may appear suggestive of the just-ended trial of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor in The Hague, The Netherlands, as judiciously exemplified by the War Crimes Court that is subsequently leading to a challenge by the defendant against the verdict handed down with a judgment sentencing him to 50 years imprisonment in Great Britain, this article is certainly not intended for the purpose, since it may still appear sentimentally prejudicial.
Instead, it certainly boils down to the heightening sensitization exercises undertaken by various local non-governmental organizations and institutions in the country in recent weeks in keeping with their seeming institutional plans of action over specified period, in keeping citizens abreast of their roles and responsibilities at the community level for congenial interactions.
No longer considered a strange phenomenon within the Liberian society, with the decade of the 1970s having brought enlightenment to citizens about upholding the practices and values of human rights, under the dynamic leadership of Liberia’s 19th President, the Rev. Dr. William Richard Tolbert, Jr., who later earned the nickname “Human Rights” but later became victimized thereby on account of the having been misunderstood by greater percentage of the population, it even became grossly misunderstood following his assassination on April 12, 1980 when it instead became considered as “human wrongs.”
Since then, the nation has continued to experiment with the concept alongside its cultural practices that are gradually maturing, if not still at the flowering and milky stages that must be brought under careful observations, in order to fully realize that the basic characteristics the concept brings along with it are proven acceptable to the way of life of the human person the world-over and not just one that is imposing, since it serves the common good.
Victimized as this columnist has become of human wrongs since more than three decades ago and worth not becoming repetitive thereat but simply as reminder, it is at all not outlandish that the names Counsellors J. Laveli Supuwood, Francis Garlawolu, the late Joseph Findley, Edwin Cooper, the late Poet Albert Porte, Beyan Howard, Attorney-At-Law Samuel Kofi Woods, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, Isaac D.E. Bantu, the late Police Colonel Ernest Mulbah and very few others who stood in the professional vanguard by liaising with Amnesty International (AI) and other human rights institutions in continuingly and daringly infusing the concept in society, lest mentioning those within the mass media that records Daily Observer’s Publisher and Managing Director Kenyahk Best, the late Rufus Marmah Darpoh, Stanton Bayogar Peabody, Tom Kamara, Westmore Dahn, et cetera.
Events constituting human rights violations that had since evolved now becoming history in aligning the national bearing, it appears quite puzzling to have gathered from reports that may just be considered history, against the backdrop of having been contained in the 2011 Human Rights Report on Liberia by the State Department of the United States, alleging killings and reported murder to have occurred during the period.
Perhaps blinded by the chronic unemployment experienced, disabling this columnist to have been kept atoned to these events that did not certainly claim the attention of other members of the public through information dissemination processes --- even EL They Say --- response from Justice Minister Cllr. Chritiana Tarr nullifying the report that reportedly included politically motivated disappearances and restriction to academic freedom certainly becomes one in which thorough probing is required to establish who is telling the truth.
Citing hurdles in the way to the administration of justice throughout the country, with the Bureau of Correction pinpointed as receiving the least support, thus calling on the international community to buttress government’s efforts thereat, the dispensation of justice especially in the democratic dispensation can no longer become a piece-meal affair, since it must unrelentingly help guide and sustain the democracy restored to the country.
Unlike the past during which human wrongs were committed against human persons with grave fears characterizing the environment, thus disallowing victims to even report the matter, one can only say thanks to the West for technology transfer that allows instant communication, although requiring verifications.
The ongoing human rights sensitization exercise taking place in various sub-divisions by various human rights organizations, women groups and other institutions must be applauded, in view of how Liberians are soon to forget.
In the same vein, the heightened international and local human rights institutions in the country equally deserve commendation, howbeit the herculean task before them that must be filtered not only to city centers but the affected population that must now gradually cope with the democratic way of life in engendering peace, stability and substantive progress.
The undercurrent to the above therefore becomes the overwhelming anxiety of the post-crisis population to living peaceably together, never to return to the dark days the culminated to a devastating civil crisis. Hello?