Government of Liberia and UN Welcome Launch of Justice and Security Hub
The Government of Liberia and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) today welcomed the launch of Liberia’s first regional justice and security hub in Gbarnga, Bong County. With funding from the UN Peacebuilding Support Office amounting to over $13 million USD, the Government of Liberia plans to open a network of five regional justice and security hubs to increase citizens’ access to justice and security services throughout the country.
The Gbarnga hub will be staffed by 139 personnel, including police officers, human rights monitors, public defenders, prosecutors, and probation and immigration officers, and will serve communities in Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties. The Hub concept shows Liberia’s commitment to the justice and security sectors working together, including law enforcement, the courts, state prosecution and defense, and corrections.
Some hub services are already operational, including specialized services from the sexual and gender based violence crimes unit. Liberia National Police Officers from the Police Support Unit have also begun patrols to help build confidence and trust amongst local communities. Community advisory services and dispute resolution services will be developed at the hub over the coming months.
Speaking at the ceremony to launch the first hub in Gbarnga, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said, “The decentralization of government services to the people is another indicator of good governance. The presence of this hub, and the others to follow, will ensure access to justice and to quality security service for all Liberians. In this endeavor, the security for the people, as well as easy access to justice and judicial services when citizens have grievances, are paramount.”
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), Karin Landgren said “As we celebrate this event, we are looking at the future of Liberia – a future where justice and security are brought closer to all Liberians, and where greater fairness and accountability increase confidence in the rule of law. It is a future of greater security, contributing to the Government and UNMIL’s overall security transition strategy.”
The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Judy Cheng-Hopkins, said, "The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office and the Peacebuilding Fund are proud to be associated with this important endeavour. With funding of up to $13.3 million for all five hubs, this is the most ambitious project undertaken by the Fund thus far.”
The Minister of Justice Counselor Christiana Tah on her part said that the UN Peace building Office, the Justice and Security trust fund and the Government of Liberia have truly worked on the project as partners.
The Acting Chief Justice Francis Korkpor joined the Minister of Justice in thanking international community's support and cited the Hub as an example of a "new way forward" in a joint approach between the judiciary and the Ministry to provide access to justice for the people.
The launch ceremony was also attended by incoming Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General Rule of Law Tamrat Samuel , a delegation from the UN Peacebuilding Commission led by its Liberia country configuration chair Ambassador Staffan Tillaner and its Sierra Leone country configuration chair Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Internal Affairs Minister Blamoh Nelson , Finance Minister Amara Konneh, as well as superintendents from Lofa, Nimba and Bong counties, civil society leaders, and local communities who will be served by the Gbarnga Justice and Security hub.