Liberia

High Commissioner for Human Rights profoundly concerned over consequences of continuing armed conflict in Liberia

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The following statement was issued today by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello:
The High Commissioner for Human Rights expresses profound concern at the continuing armed conflict in Liberia and its toll on the civilian population. The High Commissioner urges all parties to the conflict to commit themselves immediately to the protection of civilians, especially their physical integrity and the means necessary for their survival; and exhorts them to resolve their differences peacefully within the context of the rule of law and democratic principles.

The High Commissioner has continued to receive credible reports of serious abuses and violations of human rights and humanitarian law by both parties, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, deliberate targeting of civilians, abductions, and forcible recruitment of children and displaced persons in camps. Parties to the conflict should ensure respect for human rights and humanitarian law in areas under their control and in the conduct of hostilities. Where these abuses and violations occur, parties have an obligation to bring perpetrators to justice.

The High Commissioner underlines that there can be no impunity for violations of human rights and humanitarian law. He further endorses the appeal made by the UN Security Council and UN International Contact Group on Liberia to the Government of Liberia and the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) to enter into cease fire negotiations.