Know Your Rights' Initiative (LR0018)
Performance Indicators: Availability of information to the public on these issues using all current information outlets Number of citizens knowledgeable of and; seeking and receiving redress to police actions through the Professional Standards Division
IRM Midterm Status Summary
For Commitment details, see Liberia Progress Report 2015-2017.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
(MIA, MICAT, MOS, President’s Office, with support from Accountability Lab and iLab. 15 September 2015 – 15 September 2016).
· 2.4.1 Publish Laws and protocols on enforcement powers, filing of complaints and whistle blowing procedures
· 2.4.2 Promote citizens’ awareness of the existence, roles, and actions of LNP Professional Standards Division
The police and criminal justice systems do not enjoy high levels of public trust in Liberia. According to a 2011/2013 Afro-barometer survey, 88 percent of Liberians perceived “some,” “most,” or “all” police to be corrupt.[Note40: “Afro-barometer R5 2011/2013 (Liberia)”, http://afrobarometer.org/online-data-analysis/analyse-online Citizens often accuse the police of extortion and bribery. Most do not know their rights in the justice system or the responsibilities of the police. The lack of an oversight body to address issues of police misconduct reinforces citizens’ mistrust. This commitment could significantly improve citizens’ awareness of their rights and knowledge of how to file complaints and apply whistleblower protections.
Midterm: Not Started
This commitment has not begun. The government’s self-assessment report states that some information about policing is available in hardcopy at the National Police Headquarters. For more information, please see the 2015–2016 IRM midterm report.
With assistance from the Carter Center a website (http://lnp.gov.lr/lnp/) and a Facebook page have been launched. The online platform provides basic information to the general public on police activities and mode of operation. The website has a comments and complaints tab which creates a link for citizens to register their comments or seek redress on police actions. It also has a “Find Officer” section which provides the identity and location of any police officer after the ID number has been submitted. Key laws and regulations are also available on the site. Furthermore, the FAQ section provides useful information about citizens’ rights when arrested, the role of the police and civilian-police interaction. Nonetheless, this commitment is considered as substantially complete because the awareness-raising activities regarding the online platform and its use are still missing, particularly in the counties that are far from the capital city.
Did It Open Government?
Access to Information: Major
CSO representatives[Note41: Interviews with Peace Work Liberia and LOFANET representatives. December 2017.] believed this initiative has helped to flag police brutality cases as several complaints have been filed through the website, and the “Find Officer” link has helped to identify officers who were involved in violent acts.[Note42: William Howard, Executive Director, Peace Work Liberia, December 2017.
Citizens can now be aware of detention time limits (which prevents prolonged detention) and other police procedures. Before the implementation of this commitment, citizens could not report police officers who demonstrate brutality or behave outside their professional standards. CSO representatives acknowledge that, currently, complaints are being received even from counties far from the capital. For all these reasons, the IRM researcher considers this commitment as a major step forward in government openness in the security policy area.
This commitment was carried forward in next action plan (Commitment 5). The commitment aims to establish a public hotline for complaints and recommendations, to increase available data on crime, accidents, and LNP activities on the website, and to create brochures with information about citizens’ rights in relation to the LNP.