Posted by: africanpressorganization | 17 September 2008

Liberia / UN / Newly-trained Corrections Officers urged to uphold high standards of human rights



Liberia / UN / Newly-trained Corrections Officers urged to uphold high standards of human rights


MONROVIA, Liberia, September 17, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A batch of 66 newly-trained Corrections Officers have been urged to follow the highest standards of human rights and rule of law when performing their duties. The call was made by head of the Corrections Advisory Unit of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Ms. Marjo Callaghan, at a graduation ceremony for the new officers at the Liberia National Police Training Academy.


“As corrections officers, you are responsible for the care, custody and control of human beings,” Ms. Callaghan noted. “Therefore, appropriate treatment is imperative; and it is essential that you focus on the humane treatment of prisoners at all times”.


She stressed that this treatment would be the key to maintaining a safe and secure facility, as well as assisting the prisoners to become law-abiding citizens when they are released. “Majority of prisoners will return to the community; they will be your neighbours; some may be family members; but the way in which you treat them while in custody will impact on how they act when they return”.


The 12-month training has been designed to prepare the new officers for their tasks of assisting in the running of the country’s corrections facilities many of which have been rehabilitated after having been largely destroyed or neglected during Liberia’s civil conflict.


The Director of Public Safety at the Liberia’s Ministry of Justice (who represented Justice Minister Philip Banks at the graduation ceremony,) Col. Varlee Keita, admonished the new officers to apply the knowledge and practice the skill they have acquired from the training. “Graduation is the beginning of the journey into a professional career and not the end,” Col. Keita told the new corrections officers.


Mr. James Hallowanger, the Commissioner for Training and Development at the Liberia National Police Academy, urged the new officers to be transparent, accountable and respectful. He cautioned them against unethical practices in the discharge of their duties.


The graduation of this latest batch of officers – from Classes VI and VII – brings to 209 (including 28 females), the total number of corrections officers trained at the Liberia National Police Training Academy since the inception of the training exercise in 2004. The 12-month intensive induction training course is a joint programme of the UNMIL Corrections Advisory Unit and the Liberian Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Justice.


Others in attendance at the graduation ceremony were officials of the Ministry of Justice, UNMIL, and representatives of some civil society and non-governmental organizations, including the SOS Children’s Village in Liberia which supported the training.




SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia


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