The Country Representative of the United Nations Human Rights Office has pledged the organization's support for full autonomy of the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) at the Ministry of Justice saying it will transform the condition of prison inmates in Liberia.
Uchenna Emelonye stated that the autonomy of BCR will enhance the protection and dignity of inmates in prisons, saying that “they (inmates) have rights while in prisons.”
Emelonye made the remarks Wednesday at a program marking the launch of the Prison Act in support of BCR’s quest for autonomy held at a local hotel in the Monrovia suburb of Sinkor.
According to him, inmates have rights even while in prisons and their rights should be respected and not violated.
He asserted that the overcrowding of prisons is a violation of the basic human rights of inmates, emphasizing that effective autonomy will go a long way in transforming BCR in meeting up with the international standard of prisons.
Representative Emelonye stressed that the UN remains committed to providing extra funding to ensure that the human rights of people who are in prisons are not violated.
He noted that prisons should only deny the movement of inmates, but all other rights they have as human beings should be accorded them, noting that their sleeping places should be decent and not in deplorable condition.
Emelonye maintained that while seeking to obtain autonomy, issues surrounding the Liberian Justice System should also be looked at critically to avoid taking people to prison unnecessarily.
He emphasized that the justice system should take interest not only in sending people to prison for petite offenses, but also examine the cases professionally or else more Liberians will be sent to prisons for absolutely no reason.