Justice and Peace Commission

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Catholic Justice and Peace Commission - Liberia. "Its stated mission is to monitor and report on human rights violations in Liberia." [1]

"The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) has played an important role in monitoring and reporting on human rights violations in Liberia. JPC provides legal aid and coordinates the Human Rights Fact-Finding Documentation and Reporting Program. The JPC endeavours to work concretely for reconciliation in Liberia through its Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding programme, which include training, workshops, and the promotion of dialogue and tolerance at the local level, utilizing existing traditional mechanisms where possible. (Illustrative Project: JPC publishes 'Situation Reports' and other regular bulletins, as well as broadcasting a radio program, 'The Justice and Peace Forum'." [2]

Projects

In 1998, the Carter Center "began a multifaceted democracy and governance program that" amongst other things "Strengthened and expanded the Justice and Peace Commission's rural offices to train human rights monitors and paralegals". [4]

Funding

The Commission has received a number of NED grants:

  • In 1994 "to increase understanding and commitment to human rights through a weekly human rights radio program and a legal aid program to assist victims of human rights abuse".
  • In 1995 "The Justice and Peace Commission of the National Catholic Secretariat, based in Monrovia, Liberia, received renewed Endowment support for its human rights radio program and legal aid service. The Commission will continue to air its 30- minute weekly human rights radio program on Liberia's Catholic radio station, which reaches six of the thirteen counties. The program will also be broadcast on the national radio station that reaches all of Liberia as well as parts of neighboring countries where thousands of Liberian refugees live. The Commission will also continue its legal aid program, which has brought about the release of a number of wrongfully-imprisoned people in the past year. The program will conduct regular visits to prisons to examine conditions and ensure that political prisoners are accorded appropriate treatment; pro bono lawyers and volunteer students from the University of Liberia law school will carry out documentation and follow-up of individual cases. The Commission will also seek reforms of the legal system through workshops and seminars. (3/95)"
  • In 1996, to "initiate a fact-finding and documentation program to report on the nature of the abuses inside the country, supplemented with monitoring missions to other countries where Liberians are concentrated. The Commission will work to develop community watch programs wherever possible and will hold citizen awareness and training seminars on human rights. The Commission will also seek to continue its weekly human rights radio program, the "Justice and Peace Forum," and will hold workshops for combatants, judges, prison officers, and police officers to explain to these key players their own rights and responsibilities in the current situation."
  • In 1997 "The Justice and Peace Commission will establish three regional offices outside Monrovia, monitor human rights and democracy issues, hold a week-long training of trainers workshop on human rights and conflict resolution, and conduct a workshop in Gbarnga to help empower local communities."
  • In 1999, "To monitor human rights violations throughout the country as well as among displaced Liberians in neighboring countries. Activities include a database of human rights abuses, the recruitment of community activists who will report such violations, and the provision of legal assistance to victims."
  • In 2000 "To monitor and publish human rights violations in Liberia and among the many Liberians still displaced in neighboring countries. JPC will conduct human rights training workshops, and provide legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse."
  • In 2001 "To broadcast a weekly human rights and civic education radio program, as well as hold three workshops for 20-30 members of the JPC's regional chapters on the basic concepts of human rights mechanisms, monitoring and documentation. Participants will serve as human rights monitors and fact-finders. The JPC will document and distribute human rights reports locally and internationally, provide free legal services to the poor and civic and democratic institutions, and visit prisons to assess the condition of prisoners."
  • In 2003 "To continue its program of human rights education, monitoring, and legal aid. The Commission will continue its weekly human rights and civic education radio program focusing on the basic tenets of human rights and will conduct workshops focusing on human rights instruments, monitoring, reconciliation, and peace-building. It will also continue to provide free legal services through its Legal Aid Program to indigent people whose rights have been violated."

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