- United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has released a report on the human rights situation in Liberia, focusing on violations on economic, social, political, sexual and gender-based rights.
The report, which covers May to October 2007, contained several violations of rights, including three reported cases in Monstserrado County where some parents allegedly attempted to sell their children to buy food.
"In May, a man was arrested by the Liberia National Police in Montserrado County while selling his nine-year old son for US $502 allegedly to buy food," the report notes.
The report uncovered endemic corrupt practices within Liberia's criminal justice system, thus undermining public confidence in the system, subvert justice as well as allow human rights violations and abuses to go unpunished.
Also contained is the poor detention conditions, including operation of unofficial or private detention facilities. Sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and forced marriages, were undoubtedly among the major challenges in Liberia. And ironically, some serious cases have been settled out of court.
The findings express concern about reported abuse of authority by government officers and continuous holding of office by justices of peace, despite the expiration of their mandates and commissions.
The report urges the government to address the major human rights challenges, allocate more resources to the education sector as a way of ensuring effective implementation of right to education and outlaw all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment and fermale genital mutilation.
Established by UN Security Council Resolution 1509 on 19 September 2003, UNMIL's mandate includes protecting and promoting human rights in Liberia, with particular attention to vulnerable groups - refugees, returning refugees, internally displaced persons, women and children.
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