A Liberian Human Rights Lawyer Decries the Deafening Silence, Complacency and Inaction to the Terror in Liberia

(Letters sent by Samuel Kofi Woods to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights )

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 14, 2003

Dear Sir:

I write to bring to your urgent attention the extreme human catastrophe taking place in Liberia.

Over the past few months, the human rights emergency has grown from bad to worse. As fighting intensified between various armed groups and the Government of Liberia, ordinary civilians have been constantly subjected to horrendous abuses perpetrated by all sides.

The crisis has been characterized by evidence of extra judicial executions, forced conscription of individuals particularly children, forced recruitment of refugees, mass rape of women and girls, acts of torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment which contravenes international human rights and humanitarian law.

As a Liberian Human Rights Lawyer, I am saddened by the deafening silence, complacency and inaction of key institutions who should be unwavering advocates for helpless victims of abuses.

Against this background, I which to appeal for your institution to strengthen the efforts of local human rights actors by initiating the following actions:

1. Issue a clarion call on all parties to respect international law and stop abuses against civilians;
2. Organize and implement a fact-finding mission to verify and document reports of human rights violations in Liberia;
3. Call for the inclusion of a human rights guarantees in all present and future peace agreements on Liberia;
4. Call for the establishment of a Special Court for Liberia.

It is my prayer that this appeal will claim you immediate attention and action in order to rescue our people from further terror.

Thanks for your usual understanding and cooperation.
Respectfully Yours,
Samuel Kofi Woods, II