Liberian corrections officers complete 12 months of intensive training – UN

Newly-trained Liberian corrections officers

30 May 2006 – A group of 25 Liberian corrections officers have been certified after completing a year of training, bringing to 49 the total number prepared by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Government to uphold human rights while dealing with prisoners.

“This will not only bring honour to you, but also to your Government and your country,” the head of UNMIL Corrections Advisory Unit, Marjo Callaghan, told the graduates on Friday.

“Human rights standards provide invaluable guidance for performance of your functions, which is vital to the good functioning of a democratic society and the maintenance of the rule of law,” she said.

Expressing UNMIL’s appreciation for joint efforts undertaken with the Government to create a better trained, more effective and efficient Liberian Correctional Service, she said this “will contribute to the reintegration of offenders and the protection of communities and law abiding citizens around Liberia.”

Speaking on behalf of the Liberian Government, Solicitor General Counsellor Tiawon Gongloe expressed appreciation for the UN’s assistance, describing how the country’s Corrections Service had greatly suffered since the 1970s.

He called on the newly trained officers to help in Liberia’s transformation. “For a stable order in society, those who are accused or convicted are to be given decent treatment. That is why you have been trained,” the Liberian Solicitor General pointed out.

UNMIL has been providing assistance through its ‘quick impact projects’ and through funding from other partners such as the US Government to improve conditions of prisons in the country.

In another development, a five-day training programme for 45 Magistrates and 50 Justices of the Peace started today at the Supreme Court of Liberia, according to UNMIL, which organized the initiative with the Government.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of UNMIL’s Legal and Judicial System Support Division, Alfred Fofie, reminded the participants of their future role in upholding and promoting the rule of law in their communities. “You must take up the challenge with dignity and professionalism for the benefit of the people you serve and for the betterment of the Liberian society as a whole,” he said.

The development challenges facing Liberia was on the list of the “Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About” released by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) on 15 May.

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