UN human rights chief says dysfunctional judiciary impeding Liberias rights progress

The country had seen the total collapse of its state institutions and now institution-building and attitudinal changes were the biggest challenges, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Louise Arbour said at the end of a four-day visit, before she left for Sierra Leone.The issue of corruption was raised at virtually every meeting she had with Government, national and international stakeholders in Liberia, she said.”Parallel to combating corruption and displacing the culture of impunity, I think it is also very important to ensure that there are incentives to support integrity … to reinforce the view that power is about responsibility, not about personal rewards,” she added. “Fighting impunity and rewarding integrity is, therefore, key to reconstruction and to building donors’ confidence.”The weakest link in the process of fighting impunity was a dysfunctional justice sector, she emphasized. “Human rights and the rule of law are a precondition to peace and security,” she said.Ms. Arbour said some of the credit for the progress made since peace was established in 2003 went to the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), “but for the most part I think it goes to Liberians themselves who have demonstrated enormous resilience in their determination to live in peace.”She commended the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Independent National Commission on Human Rights.During her visit Ms. Arbour met with the National Transitional Government of Liberia’s Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, the Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Chairman of the Independent National Commission on Human Rights and senior UNMIL officials, among others.She also met with ex-combatants occupying a rubber plantation and visited the detention centre in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. read more

Surrey Police under fire for tweet sympathising with uprooted travellers

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. She said: “We are all incandescent with rage because of that [police] tweet. “We appreciate some of the problems that the travellers find themselves in when finding places to stay, but the attitude of the police has been a major problem and it is extremely worrying for the police to take that view. “We can take a very liberal approach, as the police seem to be doing, and say these people have every right to live where they want, but some of the travellers seem very intent on causing a great deal of disruption.  But Karen Randolph, a councillor who represents Thames Ditton, said the remarks had left residents feeling “completely unsupported”. A police force has come under fire after it told a community fed up with travellers to consider how “upsetting” it would be to be “uprooted every few days”.Elmbridge Police in Surrey posted the sympathetic tweet on its account, which left residents “incandescent with rage”, after settlers illegally set up camp in Long Ditton.Villagers had complained children’s scooters had been stolen from playgrounds and shops were forced to close early because of shoplifting after travellers moved onto Long Ditton recreation ground on Sunday.The group arrived after they were allegedly evicted from a public park in Cobham, six miles away, on Sunday.Elmbridge Police force tweeted: “If we evidence a criminal damage then we would act. But can’t usually. You say upsetting to endure, consider for a second, how upsetting it would be, being uprooted every few days. That’s why we always act in the best interests of all parties with proportionality and legality.”Further tweets were posted in which police said they had attempted to “enlighten followers” to an approach needed towards travellers and added the force was an “inclusive organisation” open to “educated conversation.” “It’s very distressing for local residents, because they feel threatened and intimidated. We are left without any ability to confront it and we feel totally unsupported – especially with that police tweet.”The travellers were served with an eviction notice to leave Long Ditton on Wednesday.A spokesman for Surrey Police said: “We are aware that the wording of the tweet on the Elmbridge Beat Twitter account hasn’t been well received. “The tweet was intended to be impartial and to encourage both sides of the discussion. “We appreciate the concern it has raised, given the impact unauthorised encampments have had on the county, however we serve all communities equally and will not tolerate discriminatory behaviour.” We are all incandescent with rage because of that [police] tweetCouncillor Karen Randolph If we evidence a criminal damage then we would act. But can’t usually. You say upsetting to endure, consider for a second, how upsetting it would be, being uprooted every few days. That’s why we always act in the best interests of all parties with proportionality and legality.— Elmbridge Police (@ElmbridgeBeat) August 7, 2018 read more