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UN assists Liberian police in meeting international human rights standards

25 July 2007The top United Nations envoy to Liberia today handed over to the National Police newly renovated detention facilities which are crucial to ensuring that the conditions under which detainees are held meet the most basic international human rights standards. During the handover ceremony at National Police headquarters in Monrovia, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Alan Doss stressed that the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will continue to support the National Police to become “a professionally managed and adequately equipped national police force.” He urged the force to help safeguard human rights including those of prisoners. Guiding Mr. Doss through the freshly-painted and renovated facilities, Inspector-General of Police Beatrice Monah Sieh expressed her appreciation to UNMIL and the Netherlands Government for the completion of the rehabilitation work on the cells. “This project will enable the Liberia National Police to live up to international human rights standards when suspects are questioned and temporarily detained before they are referred to court,” she stated. Ms. Sieh further explained that it has been over 14 years since the sewers in the cells had been functioning properly and that for the first time detainees now have access to water provided directly inside their cells. Inspecting the premises, the Acting UN Police Commissioner, General Maritz Du Toit, explained that the renovated facilities comprise of three different kinds of cells: the patrol cells, which will be used for suspects involved in minor offenses; the Criminal Service Department cells for suspects involved in capital offences; and the female cells for women exclusively. The refurbished facility can hold approximately 75 suspects. read more