Freedom of expression: Hopes, anxieties and skepticism in Liberia’s nascent democracyPosted: 2 August, 2018 Filed under: Urias Teh Pour | Tags: constitution, Criminal Libel laws, decriminalise free speech, ECOWAS Treaty, free speech, freedom of expression, Freedom of Information Act, George Manneh Weah, human rights, ICCPR, Konate v. Burkina Faso, Liberia, Liberian Football legend, Ministry of Information, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, newly elected Governmen, Penal Law, Table Mountain Declaration, UN Human Rights Committee 2 Comments
Author: Urias Teh Pour
Legal Advisor on the Liberia Law Society Land Rights and Freedom of Expression Projects
The recent move to repeal Liberia’s Criminal Libel laws by the newly elected Government of former Liberian Football legend, George Manneh Weah, has been hailed by human rights groups as a positive step in the right direction. The effort to decriminalise section 11.11 of the Penal Law comes barely two months following the visit of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to Liberia. The UN Officials called on the Government of Liberia to review all laws that undermine free speech, as guaranteed by article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other instruments ratified by Liberia.
The right to happiness in AfricaPosted: 13 July, 2016 Filed under: Saul Leal | Tags: Africa, apartheid, Christopher Mbazira, colonialism, constitution, David Bilchitz, economic development, Egypt, employment, Frederick Fourie, freedom, Ghana, Justice Albie Sachs, Leopold Sadar Senghor, Liberia, liberty, Namibia, Nigeria, racism, right to happiness, right to life, safety, security, South Africa, Steve Biko, Stu Woolan, Swaziland 3 Comments
Author: Saul Leal
Vice-Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA)
Leopold Sedar Senghor said: emotion is African. This emotion has been channeled to constitutions. Happiness is a core value in many African constitutions. It was explicitly mentioned in Liberia, Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria, Swaziland, and Egypt.
Article 1 of the Constitution of Liberia, 1986, proclaims that all free governments are instituted by the people’s authority, for their benefit, and they have the right to alter and reform it when their safety and ‘happiness’ require it. The preamble of the Egyptian Constitution, 2014, cites ‘a place of common happiness for its people’. The Namibian Constitution, 1990, assures the right ‘to the pursuit of happiness’. In this regard, Frederick Fourie defends the preamble of the Namibian Constitution, explaining that it is coloured by the struggle against colonialism and racism; that it is built around the denial of the ‘right of the individual life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ by colonialism, racism and apartheid.
A review of the work of the African Commission’s Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in AfricaPosted: 26 April, 2016 Filed under: Miriam Azu | Tags: African Charter, African Commission, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African human rights system', Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), DRC, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa, extractive industry, human rights violations, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Liberia, Marikana, Marikana Commission of Inquiry, National Association of Professional Environments, natural resources, Nigeria, non-state actors, Ogoni, special mechanism, toolkit, Working Group, Working Group on Extractive Industries Leave a comment
Author: Miriam Azu
Lawyer, Human Rights Advocate and Environmental Activist
The Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations in Africa (Working Group) is an oversight mechanism of the African human rights system. Its general mandate is to monitor and report on how extractive activities affect the human rights and environment of the African peoples. This article briefly evaluates what the Working Group has done so far vis-à-vis its mandate, notes some of its challenges and concludes with recommendations on the way forward.
Love in a Time of Ebola: Africa deserves a human rights determinationPosted: 6 November, 2014 Filed under: Humphrey Sipalla | Tags: Africa, African Charter, African Commission, African Court, AU Human Rights Strategy, Ebola, Guinea, human rights, International Health Regulations, Liberia, outbreak, rule of law, Sierra Leone, United Nations, West Africa, WHO, World Health Organisation 1 Comment
Author: Humphrey Sipalla
When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared “a public health emergency of international concern” in the three fragile West African states of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the walls fast closed on them and their peoples. Flight bans, citizen entry bans and ripple effects on trade have been announced by African countries, as well as globally. So severe have been the restrictions that vital energy and food supplies have dwindled, with riots breaking out in some areas. The affected countries have pleaded with “the world” to not inflict collective punishment on their populations, and indeed future.
These real world events have grounding in probably the most innocuously titled yet powerful treaty in the world. Nope, not the UN Charter, not the Geneva or Vienna Conventions… the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). Usually, ‘regulations’ is legalese for subsidiary legislation. But these regulations treat probably the most incendiary issues in human society: infectious diseases and legality, if not morality of mitigating actions.
The IHR’s aim to provide maximum protection from the international spread of infectious diseases while causing minimal harm to global travel and commerce. It originates from the 1892 International Sanitary Convention that sought to control the spread of cholera in the Suez Canal, providing for coercive ship inspections and quarantines.
It may well be said that the Achilles-like duality of IHR, its true power and weakness, lies not in legal theory but sheer human behaviour. Infectious diseases are frightening. They compound the unknown and bring out the worst elements of our self-preservation instinct. Prior to the 2005 revision, states like India and Peru sat on critical information about disease outbreaks to avoid the punishing reactions of other states. Given the treatment of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, one wonders what exactly has changed in the real world.
Right to participate and citizenship: Liberians yearn for an inclusive vote in 2023Posted: 6 January, 2023 | Author: AfricLaw | Filed under: Uncategorized, Urias Teh Pour | Tags: 2023, African Charter on Democracy, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Alien and Nationality Act of 1973, citizenship, civil war, Elections and Good Governance, Gabriel Shumba and Others, General Comment 25, human rights, Human Rights Committee, inclusive vote, Liberia, migrant workers, Mtikila v Tanzania, New Elections Law, refugees, Right to participate, right to vote, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties | 1 Comment
Author: Urias Teh Pour
Executive Director, Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR), Liberia
For the first time in the political history of Liberia, Liberians in the diaspora are making a strong case for their inclusion in the 2023 general and presidential elections. This call has come at the time when the Alien and Nationality Act of 1973 which prohibited dual nationality has been amended. The amended Act, Alien Nationality Law of 2022, provides that ‘any person who acquires another in addition to his or her Liberian citizenship shall not [be] deemed to have relinquished his or her Liberian citizenship.’
The passage of this law led to a wave of calls for the democratisation of electoral politics, considering the huge population of Liberians living abroad and their aspiration to participate in elections to elect their leaders at home. The Liberia Demographic Survey of 2021 projected Liberia’s population at 5.18 million. There are approximately 1.2 million Liberians and people with Liberian heritage scattered all over the globe, with the majority living and referring to the United States as their home. Some statisticians have predicted that the on-going population and housing census would exceed the projected number.
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