Abuja- Three prominent Liberian women participated in the 12th ECOWAS- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) International Review Seminar in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria on June 9 to 11, 2015.
A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Cllr. Harriette G. Badio, Deputy Justice Minister for Codification, who represented the Liberian Government, led the delegation including Counselor Zeor Daylue Bernard, Senior Legal Research Officer of Liberia’s Law Reform Commission and Attorney Nester Urey, Legal Advisor to ICRC Liberia.
The 12th ECOWAS-ICRC Review Meeting on the Promotion and Implementation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in West Africa brought together thirty representatives from ECOWAS Member States.
Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh attended the first day of the meeting dedicated for experts and ambassadors from ECOWAS Member States who deliberated on the Arms Trade Treaty, the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the normative framework of healthcare.
According to the release, Cllr. Badio disclosed that the focus of the seminar was on humanitarian issues that post-conflict countries face: “Liberia is one of such countries. We discussed the effects of conflicts and their attendant humanitarian crises.
She explained that the seminar was a follow-up to previous ECOWAS-ICRC Annual Meetings prior to which questionnaires were sent to the various Member States on implementing international humanitarian law to prepare for the emerging strategies for 2016.
The Deputy Minister also stated that the participants also discussed the issue of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s), which she said Liberia was still faced with.
The ICRC and ECOWAS are concerned about the timely ratification of treaties by Member States: how many have been signed and ratified, how many have been signed but not ratified as well as those that are neither signed nor ratified.
In this respect, Cllr. Bernard whose Law Reform Commission is the head of the Secretariat of the National Committee of the IHL, has documented that Liberia has signed and ratified 18 treaties. She further disclosed that Liberia has also signed six (6) others which are yet to be ratified, while five (5) treaties are neither signed nor ratified.
She named the Kampala Convention on IDPs and related matters as one of the vital treaties that the country has signed but is yet to ratify.
According to her, the Rome Statute is also another important treaty that Liberia has neither signed but ratified.
Cllr. Badio further named the lack of awareness and slow legislation as serious challenges causing Liberia to lag behind in signing and ratifying conventions.
The ICRC, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, annually hosts experts and ambassadors from Member States to exchange views and experiences on current issues of concern in the region and new developments in international humanitarian law.