February 2002 Articles
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October, 2002
Fear of Torture and Ill-treatment Prisoners of Conscience (Amnesty International)
Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the safety of the human rights community in Liberia, following a series of arrests on 29 October. Human rights defenders have frequently been the target of arbitrary arrest and detention and are routinely tortured and ill-treated.

ULAA Decries the Violation of Fundemental Human Rights in Liberia: Calls for Independent Investigation
The Security, police, military and para-military forces of the Government of Liberia continue to constantly and flagrantly violate the human rights and civil liberties of Liberians. Since the ascendancy of the Charles Taylor to the presidency of Liberia in July 1997, the people of Liberia have been subjected to the denial of basic freedoms: these include the freedom of association, assembly, movement, thought and conscience, expressions, speech, press, and the right to due process of law as guarantee by the Liberian Constitution.

Blindness opens up world (Toledo Blade)
Sakui Malakpa, 48, chairman of the Sight Center in Toledo, was thrilled with the gift of a manual typewriter as a teenager because he had dreams of becoming a writer. A month after Sakui Malakpa went blind, he says he was given the greatest gift he’s ever received: a typewriter. Today, Mr. Malakpa, 48, and his beat-up Olympia manual typewriter reside in Toledo, not far from the University of Toledo, where Mr. Malakpa teaches vision and special education to students. He was just named chairman of the Toledo-based Sight Center, which provides education and services to the visually impaired in 23 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Museum series focuses on Liberia (Detroit News)
What: "Of The People Series: Africa and the Diaspora," a series of programs on the different nations and aspects of Africa. Liberia is the focus of the latest event, which features music, food, movies, lectures and a panel discussion, "Liberia's Role in World Affairs: Past, Present and Future," led by Mohammed Kromah, president of the Liberian Association of America.

Kplio Association Installs New Head In Washington DC
The Kplio Association in the Americas, Inc., a nonprofit organization seeking to bring relief to the people of Barclayville Chiefdom in Grand Kru County, is having its Second Installation program this weekend, according to official sources of the organization.

New ULAA Leadership Takes Office
The newly elected national officers of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) were installed into office last Saturday for a two-year term by Maryland State General Assembly Delegate Michael Dobson, at an elaborate inauguration dinner and dance program held at a local hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

Taylor and his Henchmen Pull Some Tricks
Since Taylor's security forces went on the rampage, arresting Hassan Bility and his fellow detainees on the false charge that they wanted to assassinate him, freedom-loving people in and outside of Liberia have been demanding that they either be sent to courts or released. There has been countless number of articles in newspapers, on the internet, and even demonstrations. As of now, the Coalition of human rights organizations have declared the week of October 25th through November 1st in solidarity with Hassan Bility, Sheik Sackor and all those illegally detained.
Terror Strikes: Another wave of Arrest in Monrovia
Several human rights activists and supporters of human rights defenders have been arrested in Monrovia today. Sources from Monrovia said members of the Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders who are known to be arrested include Cllr. Dempster Browne, Chairman of the Coalition, Blamoh Sieh and the wife of Aloysius Toe. Mr.Toe was not present when security officers stormed his home. Also, there is no record on the number of supporters of the Human Rights Defenders arrested since the raid started at dawn today.
The arrest is associated with the week of solidarity declared by the Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders.

Sen. Paul Wellstone
Liberians Mourns the Death of Senator Paul Wellstone
The Liberian Community today describes the late Senator Paul Wellstone as a courageous man. A man of principle, love and determination, who was an advocate for the rights of immigrants and the down trodden. He was one of America's greatest Senators whose advocacy was a blessing to the ordinary man of the American Society. His name is known in every household of the Liberian community and Liberian refugee camps in Africa. He spoke against and condemned warlords in Liberian that continue to destroy the country and impoverish its people.

Beyond the borders of the United States, Paul Wellstone was not only known for his defense for human rights and peaceful coexistence of nations. He was a strong opponent of child slavery and forced labor in war torn country like Liberia.

"Liberia Is An Unfulfilled Dream" - Says Tiawan Gongloe
Visiting Liberian Human Rights Lawyer Taiwon Gongloe told a gathering of Liberians and friends of Liberia in Baltimore last Saturday that Liberia has swayed from so far from its original goal as a "project for freedom" that it has become nothing more than an "unfulfilled dream".

Interpol Issues Strong Declaration Against Child Slave Labour
The world's senior police chiefs Thursday wound up Interpol's 71st general assembly in Yaoundé, Cameroon with a strong declaration issued on the plight of children who have been trafficked for the purpose of forced labour.

Open Letter to President George W. Bush
It is a moral obligation to reiterate the unrelenting civil crisis within the borders of Liberia since the genesis of a rebel attack on December 24,1989. It produced one of the worst bloodlettings in the history of mankind. Excruciatingly, over 150,000 Liberians were exterminated. The people of Liberia remains displaced, hopeless and vulnerable to ongoing humiliation.

Zuma in talks with French Foreign minister de Villepin
The resolution of crises in the Great Lakes region, the prevailing situation in Cote d'Ivoire and Zimbabwe as well as matters concerning the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU) featured among high level talks in Paris Thursday between South African Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Zuma and her French counterpart Dominique de Villepin.

By Their Fruits, You Will Recognize Them
About few weeks ago, my American friends e-mailed me an article about Liberia. They were very excited about what was written in the article. Apparently they had not seen this in a long time. The article, which I had read previously, concerned the actions of President Charles Taylor at an evangelistic crusade held in Monrovia.
A Man Of All Seasons - A Man Of The People
In my last article under the title: "Liberians and Their Intellectuals: Playing the Blame Game", I commented on the sometimes ill-advised and little understood debate taking place between our intellectual class and others not so designated. I pointed out the folly of always blaming everything on the intellectuals and advocating their exclusion from our national conversation and future planning. I strongly defended the intellectual class to whom credit is due for raising our collective awareness. Although they made some tactical errors, they are not to entirely be blamed for where we ended up, I observed.

Human Rights Defenders' Response to Justice Minister Johnson
In count one of your letter, you requested to "know the various organizations forming the Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders so as to be able to make an informed decision thereof". While we are not sure of what level of knowledge you are requesting, may we take this time to attach the list of the organizations forming the Coalition.

A Statement Of Declaration For A Week-Long Solidarity For Detained Human Rights Defenders Hassan Bility, Sheik Sackor
We have come to claim your attention at this threatening period of our country's history. We have come at a time when human rights abuses in our country have reached massive proportions. We come to draw your participation in a sympathy to the plights of Journalist Hassan Bility, Sheikh Sackor and others who have been languishing behind bars for four months.

President Taylor, His Wife (Wives), and the Marriage Laws of Liberia
President Charles Taylor is correct. According to recent news reports, the Liberian president recently stated that, (1) a man in Liberia may marry more than one wife, and (2) as president, he has a duty to respect traditional matrimonial laws. The president is correct that Liberian law does permit a man to marry more than one wife. The president is also correct that he, as a constitutional officer of the Republic of Liberia, has a duty to respect traditional matrimonial laws.

Democracy Flourishes in Environment of Press Freedom-RSF
Governments that stifle press freedom in Africa are creating serious stumbling blocks to the growth of democracy in their societies, says Robert Menard, Secretary General of the Paris-based Media Freedom watch group Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).

Gbalazeh, Apprenticeship and the Liberian Legal Limbo
In a country wallowing in abject poverty, uncontrollable social, economic and political upheavals, substandard and unequipped schools, and national illiteracy rate as high as 70 percent, one would think that egotistical bigotry and false standards will be subordinated to practicality and concrete national efforts aimed at meeting the immediate needs of suffering Liberians...

Taylor Takes On New First Lady
Few days ago, many people both at home and in the international community were shocked when Charles Taylor said, "I am entitled to more than one wife, and I can dowry as many as four women in this country, and it is the responsibility of my wife to even find the woman and bring her to me." He said if his Christian wife could not understand this, he would ask the traditional elders to educate her. Mr. Taylor accused his wife of dereliction of duties because she did not put in efforts in finding a co-wife for him. Taylor's admission came amid rumors that he recently got married.

Freedom From A Distance
Liberia's present uproar illustrates the dangers that result when the masses blindly abdicate the management of their beloved country to criminals. While the past five years have brought us state-sponsored murders, violent human rights abuses, mass poverty, more refugee camps, and international disrepute, it is also clear that Liberia may soon find herself in another full-scale civil war. Therefore, one cannot sit still as our country continues down this dark path, thereby affecting our children's future and that of future Liberian generations.

Steps To End Lawlessness Before The 2003 Elections
The topic of election is beginning to dominate conversations throughout Liberian communities. Many are hopeful elections in October 2003 will usher in new leaders who will set the country on a path towards peace and prosperity. There are others who believe the current regime will hold-on to power, but somehow conditions will improve. Then there are those who firmly believe it is impossible to conduct free and transparent elections while Charles Taylor remains president of Liberia. Given the uncertainties, what are Liberians doing?

Human Rights Defenders Declare A Week Of Solidarity for Hassan Bility
The Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders has resolved to declare a WEEK OF SOLIDARITY for fellow defenders Hassan Bility of the Analyst Newspaper, Sheikh K. M. Sackor of the Humanist Watch Liberia and others who are detained along with them since the 24th of June 2002. The solidarity week commences on Friday, October 25, 2002 and ends on November 1, 2002.

The Case Of Hassan Bility - Hello Ambassador Blaney!
With drums rolling and a few former drugged combatants of the erstwhile National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) now transformed into some sort of marching band doling out familiar tunes, the lawless government in Monrovia is reported to have put up quite a magnificent show for the newly accredited American Ambassador who recently took up residence there.

DRC Opposition Group wants Territorial Integrity
The Committee of Resistance, Territorial Integrity and a State of Rights (CRID), a Paris-based resistance movement of the Democratic Republic of Congo has reiterated its commitment towards assisting the Mai Mai to peacefully ensure that the territorial integrity of the country is respected in keeping with the norms of international conventions.

Liberian Youth Charting a new Course for Africa
The Association of the Liberian Youth in Pennsylvania (ALYP), a non-profit, non- political youth organization that brings together Liberian youths in Pennsylvania, will be hosting a one day Community Empowerment Workshop slated for November 2, 2002. The seminar is under the theme "Charting a new Course for Africa; Liberia, a case study:" - Youth empowerment, National reconciliation, Political stability, Socio-economic & educational needs as the key global players in the 21st century.

Liberians and Their Intellectuals: Playing the Blame Game
A debate has gone on for some time now among Liberians (both at home and abroad) as to whether the "intellectuals", meaning people with advanced university degrees, are to blame for the country's woes or to be commended for lighting the flame calling for social change. This is in reference to the influx of social scientists, mainly leftist, whose entry onto the Liberian political scenery during the seventies (1970s) left a bittersweet aftermath.

Africa Needs Deliverance from Terror
"Liberia stands in great need of deliverance from a reign of terror and wickedness to a period of peace and love, from a reign of death and destruction to a period of respect for life and reconstruction of basic infrastructure and from a reign of extreme poverty, ignorance and disease to a period of sustained economic growth, prosperity, good health programs and the building of a just and humane social order. Liberia needs your help!"

Struggling to Establish a Culture of Respect for Human Rights in Liberia---a Christian Challenge for the People of Liberia
Before proceeding any further, permit me to take one moment of your time to extend profound gratitude to the pastor, elders, and members of this great church for praying to the Almighty God, individually and collectively, as a congregation for my release and survival during the period of my detention in April this year by the Government of Liberia. As I was being tortured and subjected to all kinds of inhumane, degrading and humiliating treatment by the police I was praying to God that he would deliver, not only me but many other innocent persons that were in detention all over Liberia.

Bin Laden's $20m African 'blood diamond' deals - $200,000 allegedly went to Taylor (The Guardian)
The terrorist network led by Osama bin Laden struck deals in 'blood diamonds' worth over $20 million in the months before the attacks of 11 September 2001.
Liberia Accused of Busting UN Arms Embargo, Travel Ban & Related Sanctions
A UN Panel of Experts has accused the Liberian government of President Charles Taylor of busting UN sanctions on arms purchases, official travel and illicit diamond trade by importing over 200 tons of military hardware and munitions into Liberia between June and August 2002, and undertaking official travels and illicit diamond sales around the globe with impunity.

Africans March Against War, Dictatorship & Terror In The Great Lakes Region Of East Africa
The peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda will be joined by human rights groups and friends of Africa this morning [October 17, 2002] in a picket to protest the against two of Africa's worst dictators and terrorists, Lt. Gen. Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Gen. Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

LURD, UN Sanctions and Elections 2003 (Part II)
Just a few hours after the publication of my article on LURD and the UN Sanctions, I received more than my share of phone calls and emails. Friends, old acquaintances used all types of words to express their disapproval of my ideas on the sanctions and the war. They stopped short of accusing me of having sold out to the NPFL regime. Rather than call all my friends back or email them, I chose to offer a public response.

"Where have we been" and "Where are we now?"
On October 12, 2002, members of the Brewerville Civic Association converged in Atlanta for their Annual Reunion. Cllr. Mohamedu F. Jones served as Guest Speaker for the Annual Reunion Benefit, which was sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of the Brewerville Civic Association. Below is the full text of Cllr. Jones' speech: It is a special honor for me to participate in this program and to serve as your guest speaker at this year's Annual Reunion Benefit. I propose to offer you my perspective on matters related to Liberia's past, as well as the current situation we live in our nation's history. I also propose to share with you my thoughts on some of the themes around which we may build national consensuses to find resolutions to our nation's problems.

The Destruction of Lofa County
Editor's Note: This article, which was originally published by the New Democrat, has been sent to The Perspective for publication. The issues discussed in the article highlight the rigor of our plight, and as such we have decided to publish it.

LURD, UN Sanctions and Elections 2003
Last year, we had a chance to interview some of the most prominent voices in the Liberian political body, among others Sheikh Kafumba Konneh, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Cllr. Charles Brumskine and Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. To each one of them, we raised the two most important issues of the time: how to deal with the LURD issue and the impendent UN sanctions. The responses, with a few variation of their formulation, were almost identical:

Knowing When To Discuss A Subject Matter
Throughout my life I have had the fortune or misfortune, depending on the situation, of coming into contact with mostly people who are either too bright and well rounded that they make instant authority on almost any subject matters, or people who are somewhat mediocre by any standards imaginable but wouldn't hesitate to go on a wide geese chase on any subject matter simply to impress. The first group of people I would call knowledge givers or seekers, and the second group I would describe as knowledge polluters who don't really know anything about most subject matters but will always pretend to know just to impress others. Suffice this to say that when I was in Houston

The Divisive Politics of Liberia (Past and Present)
I published an essay earlier this year under the title, "The War Next Time: Fighting Fire With Fire". In that article, I observed that the Christian Church of Liberia, in the midst of hellish conditions imposed by the government, had remained complacent, supine or outright silent when it was its moral duty to be actively involved. "...It is quite clear that some well-respected segment of the Liberian society needs to rise up and highlight the transgressions the people suffer at the hands of this monstrous group calling itself a legitimate government.

French Association Denounces "Red Carpet Welcome" to Paris for African dictators
A French Association known as "Survie" which monitors France-Africa relations has decried what it said was the red carpet welcome to some of Africa's leaders visiting Paris who "never stopped terrorising their people."
In a statement Friday, the Survie Association headed by Francois Xavier Verchave, a critic of the regimes of Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo, Brazzaville) and Omar Bongo (Gabon) among other African leaders it considers dictators, expressed concern saying it was permissible for people to question themselves on the "private nature" of such visits to France.

Shooting Caused pandemonium in Monrovia
On Saturday, October 12, 2002, there was a soccer match between Liberia and Niger at the Samuel K. Doe (SKD) Sports complex, which ended with one nil in favor of Liberia. People had left the field en route to our respective homes when they heard a burst of gun fire from the ELWA junction. "The vehicle that I was in was very close to the stadium with lots of people walking on foot. The shooting caused such a pandemonium that people began to run into the swamp in all directions. My friend who gave me lift did not know what to do because the vehicles were just bumper to bumper. We abandoned the vehicle and ran to an unfinished building for safety. After 15 minutes or so, we rushed back in the vehicle and drove towards the Robertsfield highway where we were up until 8:30 pm.,"
The Perfect Game
Time flies when you are having fun, the saying goes. It also flies when you keep putting off major issues that need to be taken care of. October 2003 is almost here and Liberian political pundits are at lost as to how they got here so quick. Just yesterday, in 1997, after the humiliating defeat at the first post war elections, Liberian political leaders vowed to never again repeat the mistakes that cost them political power in 1985 and 1997, the only two elections in recent times that they could have influenced or won.

Open Letter to US Attorney General John Ashcroft
Thanks to your government through your office as Attorney General for extending the staying of Liberians with temporary status here in the United States for one more year. Your gesture towards Liberians is a noble one but not without a healthy price tag. It has created or will create serious problems for us now and for years to come. This burdensome gesture if left unchecked, will create immense financial, social and other problems for Liberians and their families.

Liberia: America's Stepchild
A documentary entitled "Liberia: America Step Child" will be aired nationally tonight by PBS. Liberia: America's Stepchild is produced by a New York based filmmaker Nancee Oku Bright.
The Twenty-Year Anniversary of the No-Way Camp Tragedy
Last Sunday, October 6, marked the 20th anniversary of the 1982 Landslide Disaster that rocked the little Liberian mining town of No-Way Camp in Grand Cape Mount County, and claimed the lives of at least 200 peasant miners (by official count but unofficial count might be higher). As Chief Reporter with the state news agency, LINA, at the time, I was one of few reporters who traveled to No-Way Camp to witness the devastation of the landslide firsthand and report on the poignant recovery efforts.

Can Collaboration Succeed in the 2003 Election?
Discussion about the 2003 Presidential Election in Liberia has been focused on the number of political parties vying for the presidency. I get the feeling that most Liberians cannot understand why a small country like ours must have more than 14 political parties. And with the discussion of collaboration amongst these political parties, I sense that collaboration will not succeed.

WAANSA Expresses Deep Shock and Dismay About the Eruption of Armed Violence in Cote d'Ivoire
Members of the Steering Committee of the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) have expressed deep shock and dismay about the eruption of armed violence between rival troops of the Ivoirian Armed Forces, which began on 19th September 2002. In that confrontation, rebel troops occupied the cities of Bouake and Korhogo and major exchange of fire took place in Abidjan. In the wake of these, hundreds of people were killed, several hundred more were wounded, and thousands have been displaced with some losing their homes and other properties to arsonists.

Inter-Religious Council Reacts to the Bethesda Conference Report
It is unfortunate however, that we were not furnished with copies of the Conference Report for the past three months. We thank God that we obtained copies of the Conference Report a couple of days ago from a friend. Since we were not at the plenary session where these major decisions were taken, we were aghast by some of the things we read in the Report, hence this Reaction.

Cote d'Ivoire, Africa and the Policy of the "Third Man"
The Policy of the "Third Man" consists of western countries using Africans against fellow Africans with the objective of serving Western interests. It's not only Africa that suffers from this phenomenon. When France was under German occupation during the second world war of 1945, some French nationals collaborated with the Nazis against occupied France, just as some Jews betrayed their fellow Jews to Hitler's nasty reign of terror against the Jews.

The Nightmare of the West Africa Democracy Radio
The Sierra Leone's Civil Society Movements in their determination to reverse the Independent Media Commission's decision to reject the application of the West African Democracy to establish a radio station will this week meet with their Vice President, Solomon Berewa.
Gongloe Breaks Silence on his Detention and Human Rights in Liberia
A Liberian Human Rights Lawyer, Tiawan Saye Gongloe was detained by police officers on the evening of April 24, 2002 and held without warrant or charge in Monrovia. As a result of beatings during the night, he had to be carried out of the cell the next morning and taken to the S.D.A hospital. At the hospital, government intensified security at the hospital where Gongloe was being treated for injuries sustained during the night in a cell at the headquarters of the Liberian National Police. Gongloe has been out of Liberia and is presently in the USA for further medical treatment.

2004 U.S. Green Card Lottery Kicks Off October 7
The 2004 start of the annual U.S. Immigrant Visa Lottery or Green Card Lottery, officially called Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV), kicks off at noon Monday, October 7, 2002 through noon Wednesday, November 6.2002. Liberia is one of 53 African countries whose citizens are qualified to participate in DV-2004.

Blue Print For Stability In Liberia (LURD's Blueprint)
We present here our blueprint for a democratically stable Liberia. We are committed to the full and unconditional implementation of these proposals regarding structures of governance, and the radical re-organisation of security and other key components of the government. We believe these structures would take the country towards cessation of hostilities, democratisation and reconciliation, stability and reconstruction and development. It is our firm belief that, considering the current state of affairs of our country, this is the way forward.

The Liberian Media March To 2003 : What Hope For A Successful Non-Violent Elections? Press freedom and the establishment of genuine democracy in Liberia continues to elude us even in this 21st century. The NPP-led government under President Charles G. Taylor has not allowed the press to operate freely. There has been this uneasy relationship between the government and the press. Some journalists have served prison sentences without violating any law. Hassan Bility for instance, is still languishing in an unknown prison in total disregard for the rule of law. Some have had their offices ransacked by state security operatives. In the face of the current self-imposed censorship by the media houses, they still deserve some commendation for attacking some ills in our society.

U.S. Senator Advocates Permanent Resident Status For Liberians
U.S. Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, whose State is home to thousands of Liberian refuges, says he is pleased with a decision by the Bush Administration decision on September 26 to extend for one more year the legal stay of over 10,000 Liberians in the U.S. under Temporary Protective Status (TPS), but thinks Liberian families in Rhode Island and elsewhere in the U.S. could be better off with a permanent resident status.

Public School Students Beaten by Police in Monrovia
Report from Monrovia indicates that students of public schools are demonstrating. Their demonstration is said to be in solidarity with their teachers who are on a go-slow because they have not been paid by the Liberian government for several months. According to the report, several students and a cameraman from DC radio were beaten by police.
Another Last Minute Bitter-Sweet Victory for Liberians
WASHINGTON - Just two days before their legal right to stay in the United States was to expire, Attorney General John Ashcroft notified U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) by telephone this afternoon that President Bush has granted 10,000 Liberians permission to remain in the country for one more year under Temporary Protected Status. Each year since 1992, these Liberians have relied on a reprieve from the White House extending their legal right to remain in the United States for one more year. This year their status was to expire on Saturday, September 28, 2002.

Taylor's Mercenaries Treated at Duside Hospital
Report reaching The Perspective speaks of several wounded ex-combatants who were sent to Guinea by the Taylor regime to fight alongside with dissidents attempting to overthrow the Guinean government. According to reliable sources, the Taylor regime had recruited several ex-fighters to join Guinea dissident force in its effort to topple the government of President Conte.

Questions And Answers About TPS
On September 27, 2002, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft granted Liberians Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The TPS, which takes effect today (October 1, 2002), will benefit about 15, 000 to 20,000 Liberians. The following questions and answers provided by the INS are designed to assist Liberians wishing to adjust immigration their status. For more information, contact the INS website.

Liberian Community