The human rights components of the United Nations missions in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast yesterday concluded their second inter-mission meeting at UNIOSIL headquarters Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing, the Chief of Human Rights and Rule of Law at the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), Benedict Sannoh, underscored the 60thanniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and properly explained about their activities within the sub–region, which he said remained challenging but that the United Nation was committed to upholding, promoting and protecting the human rights of every individual adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (111) OF December 1948.
The human rights officer of the United Nations Missions in Liberia, Eugene Nindorire, also reported positive developments in supporting peace building within the sub-region and specifically made mention of serious challenges facing women in Liberia as violence against women and rape were the major problems affecting women in Liberia.
He noted that police officers were being trained personally to deal with some human rights cases, and that progress had been reported in handling human rights matters, but that more needed to be done for active participation of women in the police.
Mr Nindoriri added that they were working with NGOs and some Community Base Organisations to help reduce violence against women , and that more lawyers had been trained to dispense justice but most of them were not willing to go into the interior of the country to work.
ONUCI Human Rights Officer in the Ivory Coast, Guilliume Ngefa, disclosed that the country was struggling to get peace but human rights abuses continued unabated by some individuals who forcefully use children as labourers at various cocoa plantation in the Ivory Coast.
He also reported much progress on the re-integration of child soldiers to their various communities particularly children who took part in the fighting from Liberia, were re- united with their families.
A representative from the United Nations Office in West Africa based in Dakar, Madam Karim Hangaru, spoke about the collective efforts of the United Nations in promoting the United Nations Declarations of Human Right and promised to ensure that human rights issues were given due consideration at all levels.