Human Rights WatchWorld Report ContentsDownloadPrintOrderHRW Homepage

World map Liberia



Europe and Central Asia

Middle East and North Africa

Special Issues and Campaigns

United States


Children’s Rights

Women’s Human Rights


Defending Human Rights
Threats and intimidation against human rights organizations for reporting on abuses occurred periodically during the year. In July, Senator Thomas Nimley claimed human rights groups were an “enemy of the state” and were to blame for the delay in international assistance because they depicted a “negative picture” of the country. Members of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission complained that members of its staff were under government surveillance. In October, its director Kofi Woods was forced to flee the country after the Justice and Peace Commission issued a statement condemning extrajudicial executions by government forces arising from the violence on September 18 and 19.

Despite these attacks, the emergent human rights community that had functioned only in Monrovia during the war continued to expand its activities. The organizations included the Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, the Center for Law and Human Rights Education, the Liberian Human Rights Chapter, the Association of Human Rights Promoters, Liberia Watch for Human Rights, the National Human Rights Monitor, the Movement for the Defense of Human Rights, the Liberia Civil and Human Rights Association, Liberia Democracy Watch, the Civil Rights Association of Liberian Lawyers, Fore-Runners of Children’s Universal Development, the Center for Democratic Empowerment, and the Association of Female Lawyers in Liberia.

The government Human Rights Commission got off to a slow start. The legislation creating the commission was flawed and, following international and domestic pressure, the act was amended by the legislature in July. The amended act empowered the commission to reach decisions by a majority vote, allowed review of a decision only by the Supreme Court, and gave the right to subpoena witnesses. Unfortunately, two of the most promising members of the commission, Kromah Bryemah and Luvenia Ash-Thomson, were rejected by the Senate, leading human rights groups to issue a statement questioning the government’s commitment to the commission. Mr. Bryemah subsequently left the country, stating that he feared for his life after his detention and beating by police, actions he blamed on police director Joe Tate. President Taylor ordered a probe of the charge, but refused to make the findings public. Once the commission was constituted and able to begin its work it examined prison conditions and announced that it would observe the upcoming treason trials.




The Democratic Republic of Congo







Sierra Leone

South Africa





Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Abduction and Enslavement of Ugandan Children

Human Rights Causes of the Famine in Sudan


Copyright © 1999
Human RIghts Watch