The Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) of Liberia was established by an Act of the National Legislature in 2005 as the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in Liberia. The establishment of the INCHR came out of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in Accra on the 18th of August 2003 that stressed the need to address the wanton disregard and disrespect for human rights which in part led to and characterized the Liberian civil war. In addition, the INCHR was set up in line with the Paris Principles of 1993. Although established in 2005, the Commission was not functional until 2010 when the first Board of Commissioners was appointed by the President of Liberia.
The INCHR, is empowered by articles 3 and 4 of its Act to: a) promote and protect human rights throughout the Republic of Liberia; b) investigate complaints of human rights violations and conduct hearing; c) propose amendments or reform to laws, policies and administrative practices and regulations; and d) advice the Government on the implementation of national and international human rights standards. Also in line with its Act, the Commission submits quarterly and annual report on the human rights situation of the country to the head of the three Branches of the Liberian Government: the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary.
The INHCR submits thematic and/or incidence reports as may be deemed necessary to the general public on various human rights issues. Further, as an extension of its work described in the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act, the Commission is responsible to follow-through on the implementations of the TRC recommendations.
In order to make its report on human rights violations and issues and make recommendations to the Government, the Commission receives complaints, conducts investigation and takes appropriate actions. The Commission is fair and balanced in its promotion and protection of human rights responsibilities. The positions and portfolio of those involve do not matter.
The INCHR is composed of a Board of Commissioners (BOC) and a Secretariat.
There are seven Commissioners, who are appointed by the President of Liberia with consent of the Liberian Senate for a tenure of five years excluding the Chairperson who serves a six year tenure. The President’s appointment is based on the recommendations from an Independent Panel of Experts (ICE) put together by the Chief Justice of Liberia. These commissioners form the policy arm of the Commission.
The Secretariat is made up of five departments and one unit. It is headed by an Executive Director that conducts the day to day operations of the Commission. The departments include:
Participants in a capacity building training on Torture
Department of Administration, Budget and Finance (DABF)
Department of Planning, Internal Monitoring and Evaluation (DPIME)
Department of Legislative Assistance, Treaties Matter and Law (DLATML)
Department of Complaints, Investigation and Monitoring (DCIM)
Department of Education, Training and Information (DETI)
Program Management Unit of the Palava Hut Program (PMU)
Each Department is headed by a Director who reports to the Executive Director. There is also a Project Management Unit (PMU) headed by a Program Manager. The BOC can established various Units under Departments as may be deem necessary to enhance the work of the Commission.
The protection and promotion of human rights is a subject that requires competent personnel to handle. The present make-up of the Commission is testimonial to the Commission’s readiness to tackle vices of human rights violations:
The INCHR present leadership include
Comm. Rev. Bartholomew B. Colley—Vice & Acting Chair with oversight for Sinoe, River Cess and Grand Bassa Counties
Comm. James D. Torh—Oversight for DETI & Grand Kru, Maryland and River Gee Counties
Comm. Adolphus S. Wade—Oversight for DABF & Bong, Lofa and Margibi Counties
Comm. Tonieh A. Talery-Wiles—Oversight for DLATML & Gbarpolu, Bomi and Cape Mount Counties
Comm. Atty. Oretha S. Davis—Oversight for DCIM and Montserrado County
Comm. Wilfred Gray-Johnson—Oversight for DPIME & Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties and
Mr. Herron S. Gbidi—Executive Director
directly related to the work of human rights. This collaboration is aimed at finding solutions to violations, reviewing relevant laws, enhancing a positive human rights environment and compiling reports on the human rights situation in the country.
The Commission has a structured procedure through which complaints are brought before it. In its complaint handling manual, the DCIM is responsible for the receipt of complaints. All complaints received are filed, reviewed and looked into. In the case of allegation of violations, the accused is given the opportunity to respond. Where the complaint does not equate to a human right violation, the issue is refer to the relevant authority(ies) for action.
The Commission also affords persons who may not be able to read and write the opportunity to file a complaint. They are allow to verbally file their complaint and a staff of the Department records the complaint for action.
As a human rights institution, the Commission focuses on equality, fairness, religious tolerance and justice.
Scope of Operation
The INCHR currently has monitors in all of the counties around the country. There is a total of 26 monitors throughout the country. These monitors work in close contact with county authorities, civil society organizations, NGOs and community dwellers.
The Commission is working in close collaboration with the line ministries and agencies
Relevant Human Rights Instruments
¨ Constitution of Liberia
¨ Universal Declaration on Human Rights
¨ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
¨ International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights
¨ Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights
¨ Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
¨ Convention on the Rights of a Child
¨ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
¨ Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
¨ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
¨ Maputo Protocol
¨ Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families
¨ Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
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Tele: 088 867 2984 /0880668128/0770145748