Global Policy Forum

Rights Group Demands Taylor's


By Peter Kahler

Panafrican News Agency
February 10, 2001

A Liberian human rights group Saturday called on President Charles Taylor to resign should his government fail to avert impending sanctions by the United Nations on the country.

The Liberia Watch for Human Rights (LWHR) said Taylor should "exhaust all his humanly efforts to avert the impending sanctions or tender his resignation to the Liberian people as an alternative..."

The UN Security Council is debating the imposition of sanctions on Liberia based on the report of an expert panel that probed allegations of Liberia's involvement in diamond smuggling and gunrunning with Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels.

"The government's foreign policy is quite poor, malignant and bellicose, thus bringing the imposition of sanctions and a state of "political isolation on the nation," the human rights group said in a statement published in Monrovia.

It said Liberia's relations with its neighbours were "unsavoury" as the country has "surrounded herself with enemies presumably created by itself in the sub-region."

"Liberia is continuously accused by its neighbours of backing dissidents in Guinea, fuelling war in Sierra Leone, training mercenaries to unseat (Presidents) Laurent Gbabo in Cote d'Ivoire and Yahyah Jammeh of the Gambia," the group claimed.

On the home front, it alleged that the internal policy was "clothed with self-centeredness, oppression, mass corruption and exploitation of the national resources without accountability."

The LWHR said its observations and findings on the situation in Liberia since 1997 when the ruling NPP came to power "clearly reveal that Taylor is responsible for the economic hardship, lack of progress in reconstruction, reconciliation and reunification in Liberia."

The group alleged that Taylor had "compromised the welfare of the people for his personal interest."

Liberian Information Minister Johathan Reffel reacted sharply to the statement by calling it "ludicrous."

He said there was no need for Taylor to resign his post without the expiry of his constitutional mandate.

Reffel said Liberians should "refrain from personalising the situation in the country and instead deal with the real issues."

"We are just from war and we are on our own, so let the present transition be given a chance," the Minister added.

Meanwhile, the Liberian Human Rights group is also calling for the dissolution of the National legislature (Parliament) for allowing its position to he reduced to that of "an ordinary rubber stamp and toothless bulldog."

The group said Taylor should have been summoned to appear before Parliament over his alleged involvement in Sierra Leone.

The LWHR said a national referendum was needed for the dissolution of the legislature, which was constituted under the proportional representation system of election, and a new body set up under the constitution, which provides for a majority system.

Political analysts say the proportional representation system was used in the 1997 elections because some constituencies were inaccessible following the country's seven-year civil war.

More Information on Diamonds in Conflict
More Information on Sierra Leone and Liberia
More Information on Sanctions


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