OCHA WELCOMES LIBERIA’S SIGNIFICANT STEPS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS

AFR/1032-IHA/948
22 September 2004

OCHA WELCOMES LIBERIA’S SIGNIFICANT STEPS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS

22/09/2004
Press Release
AFR/1032
IHA/948

OCHA WELCOMES LIBERIA’S SIGNIFICANT STEPS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS


NEW YORK, 22 September (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) -- Today, Mr Charles Gyude Bryant, the Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) will take the historic action of signing, ratifying and acceding to 17 protocols and conventions, which provide for the protection of civilians.


For a country that has been racked by conflict for the past 15 years, which were characterised by some of the worst human rights atrocities –- this is a significant landmark both consolidating peace and ensuring better future protection for the Liberian people. Jan Egeland, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs welcomes this and applauds the action of Mr. Bryant and his Government.


“Liberia is emerging from a bitter and dark history, the brunt of which has been borne by innocent civilians, particularly women and children.  The commitment of the National Transitional Government of Liberia to bring real and lasting peace, based on rule of law, to their country and their efforts to establish a framework of protection, so that the atrocities of the past will never be committed again, is commendable.  I hope that the action of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, in their strong commitment to rebuilding their country, which has been so broken by the ravages and horrors of war, will serve as a beacon of light and an example to other governments struggling to resolve internecine disputes and ongoing conflicts and to bring peace in their countries”, Mr. Egeland said.


Chairman Bryant signed the treaties at the “Focus 2004” Treaties Event.  The theme for this year’s Focus meeting is protection of civilians, with the objective of urging Member States to accede to or sign international treaties that guarantee citizen’s rights.


At today’s ceremony the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) signed five treaties, acceded to 10 and ratified another three.  The NTGL signed the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.


The 10 treaties to which NTGL acceded were:  The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness; the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrant Workers by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime; the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime; the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal; and  the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.


Finally, the NTGL ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.


For further information, Stephanie Bunker +917 367 5126 (OCHANY), Elizabeth Byrs +41 22 917 2653 (OCHA Geneva).


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For information media. Not an official record.