Posted by: africanpressorganization | 15 April 2009

Liberia / Support to rule of law institutions crucial in dealing with security threats, says UN Envoy



Liberia / Support to rule of law institutions crucial in dealing with security threats, says UN Envoy


MONROVIA, Liberia, April 15, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — UN Envoy Ellen Margrethe Løj has assured Liberians of the continued support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for the nation’s rule of law institutions: the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, and the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Ms. Løj made these remarks when she awarded UN peacekeeping medals to the UNMIL Kenyan Police Contingent comprising 13 Police officers, three Immigration and three Corrections officers. She praised their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia in general and to the rule of law sector in particular.


“This support is crucial to strengthening these institutions, to enable them to deal with security threats due to limited national capacity,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) said. She added that, “UNMIL will continue to work alongside the national authorities until the capacity constraints, particularly within the LNP – operational functions, logistics, management and planning capabilities – have been addressed.” On strengthening the Liberia National Police to cope with post-conflict challenges such as violent crime and unrest, Ms. Løj emphasized that this will only be possible if the LNP is present in all counties, and equipped with the requisite logistics to carry out its statutory duties effectively.


The SRSG expressed satisfaction with the increasing attention being focused by the Government and international partners on other sectors of the rule of law such as the bureaux of Corrections and Immigration. In this regard she welcomed the recently formulated plan of the corrections sector, the pilot scheme for inmate rehabilitation, and efforts to deal with prison congestion. The UN Envoy also welcomed the workshop for the development of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization Strategy, currently taking place in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County. “No one institution in the rule of law sector should feel like an orphan anymore; we are willing to provide the support to enable them to carry out their duties,” SRSG Løj concluded.


In a related development, the UN Envoy has urged UNMIL peacekeepers to work harder and help get Liberia back on the path to freedom and prosperity. She made this call when she decorated 44 UNMIL Military Observers and 38 Staff Officers from 26 countries during a medal award ceremony. UNMIL Force Commander, Lt.-Gen. ATM Zahirul Alam, was amongst senior UNMIL military officials awarded medals for their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia. SRSG Løj however cautioned that despite progress made over the years, there are still numerous challenges ahead – crime, especially armed robbery, rape and drug trafficking – as well as increasing unrest in rubber plantations.


Underscoring the peace which UNMIL peacekeepers have brought and continue to guarantee, the SRSG said Liberians nevertheless remain apprehensive about the irreversibility of peace. She cautioned the peacekeepers to work harder to sustain the current peace and to consolidate state authority throughout the country. “We all know that the absence of war or conflict does not mean that peace has come to stay”, Ms. Løj pointed out.


Ms. Løj assured her listeners that UNMIL will continue to work with the UN Country Team to help address potential fallout from the impact of the economic crisis in Liberia and that UNMIL’s engagement with the Liberian political class would continue to ensure attention to initiatives to promote reconciliation amongst all Liberians.


Attending the medal ceremonies were Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the Rule of Law, Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu; Force Commander, Lt.-Gen Alam; Director of Mission Support, Mr. Stephen Lieberman; UN Police Commissioner, Mr. Henrik Stiernblad; Liberia National Police Inspector-General Beatrice Sieh-Browne; visiting Kenyan Police Force officials – Mr. Leo Nyongesa, Senior Commissioner of Police, and Ms. Alice Nduta, Director of Community Policing, Children and Gender Issues; and other UNMIL senior military and police officials.


SOURCE : Mission of UN in Liberia



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