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Liberia facing poor human rights conditions after civil war: UN report

[JURIST] Liberia struggles with corruption in its criminal justice system, poor detention conditions and sexual and gender-based violence, including rape and forced marriage, according to a UN Mission in Liberia [official website] combined quarterly report [PDF text; press release] covering May-October 2007 that was released Wednesday. The report recommended that Liberia, a country still recovering from its civil war, institute legal prohibitions of all forms of violence against children, provide better human rights training for police, and increase resources for rural education. The UN News Centre has more.

Late last year, the UN independent expert on the promotion and protection of human rights in Liberia urged the country to accelerate its human rights efforts [JURIST report], and in particular called on the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) [official website] to begin operations. The TRC held its first public hearings [JURIST report] earlier this year after several months delay due to lack of funding. The TRC is investigating possible war crimes that occurred during the civil war that ended in 2003, but does not have the authority to try cases. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] is currently on trial in The Hague before the Special Court for Sierra Leone [official website] for crimes against humanity. Taylor is generally deemed responsible for masterminding and funding intertwined civil wars in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone through the sale of so-called "blood diamonds." He has been charged [PDF indictment; summary] by the SCSL with 11 counts of crimes against humanity, violations of the Geneva Conventions and other violations of international humanitarian law.

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