Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Police Work and Respect for Human Rights -- Remarks From Liberia

The following press release from the United Nations describes remarks by the UN Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in Liberia, who was addressing a graduation ceremony for police officers.  In her remarks, she stressed the importance of having police give full respect for human rights.

Respect for human rights must be central to police work, a senior United Nations official in Liberia has told the new members of an elite unit within the West African country's police force as she warned them never to misuse their strength and power.

Eighty officers from the Liberia National Police (LNP) have completed a three-month intensive training programme to join the force's Emergency Response Unit (ERU), joining just over 200 others who have finished their training since courses began in mid-2008. They are tasked with responding to crisis and high-risk situations.

Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for the Rule of Law in Liberia, told a graduation ceremony in Monrovia, the capital, for the 80 officers that they have "inherited the hopes and dreams of all Liberians who seek to live" in safety and security.

"The measure of your strength and power is not how frequently you remind people of them, but how well you control your use of that power," Ms. Mensa-Bonsu said, according to a press release issued today by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

"Even when tested under the most trying of circumstances, you must adhere to the principle of proportionality in the use of force; sound judgement, restraint and respect are characteristics of a professional police officer," she stressed.

In her remarks Ms. Mensa-Bonsu promised that UNMIL would continue to assist the Liberian Government in training, reforming and restructuring the LNP. She also welcomed the support for the United States and Irish Governments for the ERU training programme.


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