Annual Report: Liberia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Liberia 2013

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In December, another extradition request was made for eight nationals of Côte d'Ivoire – seven adult men and one child. They were accused by the Ivorian government of having launched an attack that resulted in the death of seven UN peacekeepers and one Ivorian soldier in June 2012. They were also charged in Liberia with various offences including murder, rape, and being mercenaries. There are serious concerns about the lack of evidence in both cases. If extradited, they could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, unfair trial, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance or extra-legal, arbitrary or summary execution.

Violence against women and girls

Domestic violence was still not a crime, and remained rife, as did rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, including harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation and early marriage.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

Against a backdrop of widespread homophobia in the Liberian general public and the media, two laws aiming to further criminalize same-sex sexual conduct were introduced into the legislature and led to further discrimination. In July, the Senate voted unanimously to pass an amendment to the Domestic Relations Law of Liberia which seeks to make same-sex marriage a second-degree felony. At the end of the year a vote by the House of Representatives was pending. A second bill seeking to amend the New Penal Code, criminalizing the “promotion” of homosexuality and imposing long sentences for entering into a consensual same-sex relationship, was awaiting a vote by the House of Representatives at the end of the year, before proceeding to the Senate. The ambiguity of the “promotion” clause in the House of Representatives bill has the potential for criminalizing the work of human rights defenders.

A number of LGBTI people reported incidences of discrimination, harassment and threats based on their sexuality. Many of them also reported that the introduction of these bills, perpetuating the stigma of same-sex relationships, made them increasingly concerned for their safety and frightened to seek government services such as health, security, welfare.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Liberia in September/October.
  • Liberian police must take immediate action to protect journalist (AFR 34/001/2012)