Jean Conte and Aloysius Toe
Comprehensive and practical, these guidelines are designed to support Liberian lawmakers in applying human rights principles to their work in security sector reform and governance.
In their capacity as the peoples’ representatives, parliamentarians have a critical role to play in promoting respect for human rights. This is even more relevant in Liberia, where security institutions are often reported as the most prominent violators of human rights, notably among vulnerable groups, such as women and LGBTI persons. Therefore, it is essential to reassert that respect for human rights is an obligation deriving from both international instruments and the Liberian Constitution, and to strengthen the security sector’s compliance with these legally binding instruments.
Through their core functions of oversight, law-making and representation, Liberian legislators possess an array of tools to help them achieve this objective. However, their lack of basic human rights knowledge and key reform and governance concepts hampers their effective use of these tools. These guidelines aim to bridge this knowledge gap and suggest concrete steps to help Liberian Legislators succeed in this endeavour.
Following a brief discussion on why Liberian lawmakers must actively promote respect for human rights in the security sector (Chapter 1), these guidelines lay out what the main international human rights standards and instruments are (Chapters 2 and 3), and make suggestions on how legislators can integrate them in their daily practice (Chapter 4).