The Secretary General of the Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform of Liberia, Adama Dempster, said those who defend human rights need laws and policies because human rights issues are centered on laws.

Mr. Dempster made the remarks during an interactive and intensive four-day initiative of human rights defenders from Lofa, Nimba and Grand Gedeh counties who gathered in Ganta City to share ideas, experiences and think about drafting a policy document to protect them by doing their work in their diverse communities.

“The process of drafting this key human rights policy document is for ourselves, so we need to strategize well, do our best and come up with concrete ideas that will eventually be formulated into a practical policy document. to protect us,” Mr. Dempster said.

Accordingly, this initiative should capture a holistic approach focusing on experiences of risk on human rights work in Liberia, international documents and protocols that protect human rights defenders as well as challenges.

Sir . Dempster, who also served as lead facilitator, praised the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Liberia for its support and described the drafting of the policy document as a significant initiative for human rights defenders. human rights.

Melvin Nyanway, Representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Liberia, the official organizer of the program, stresses the need for a human rights policy document in Liberia.

“We are with you in this endeavour, do your best, share your experiences as well as practical recommendations to protect you in your work,” Mr Nyanway urged human rights defenders.

Mr. Nayanway said OHCHR was there to observe the process, including providing its technical expertise in drafting the policy and that he will be hopeful and happy to see a document that will be appreciated and welcomed by the government. Liberian after the finalization by the actors themselves.

Mr. Nyanway, who was also one of the session facilitators, briefed the participants on the work, role and importance of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Liberia and the Independent National Human Rights Commission of Liberia.

According to him, Liberia is a signatory to many human rights treaties that no country should respect, but international best practices encourage the protection and promotion of all human rights, including human rights defenders. human rights.

Kpana D. Watson, who represented the office of the Independent National Commission for Human Rights (INCHR) at the session, encouraged participants to implement what they learned and be an agent of change on the human rights issues.

The program which is officially organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is sponsored by the European Union (EU) under the Spotlight Initiative. According to an official, it is a five-year program aimed, among other things, at combating violence against women and girls in Liberia.

The role of human rights defenders is recognized in the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by consensus by States in 1998.

The Declaration recognizes that everyone’s right to defend human rights is fundamental if our human rights are to be respected and protected.