You are here:
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child - States Parties Reports >>
 UNCRCSPR 23
| Name Search
| Recent Documents
Liberia - Initial reports of States parties due in 1995: Addendum  UNCRCSPR 23; CRC/C/28/Add.21 (22 September 2003)
Convention on the
Rights of the Child
22 September 2003
COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 44 OF THE
Initial reports of States parties due in 1995
GE.03-44527 (E) 281103
I. GENERAL INFORMATION 1 - 54 5
A. Land and people 1 - 27 5
B. General political structure 28 - 37 9
C. General legal framework 38 - 47 11
D. Information and publicity 48 - 54 13
II. SPECIFIC INFORMATION AND ASSESSMENT OF
CHILD RIGHTS 55 -
A. General measures of implementation 55 - 59 14
B. Definition of the child 60 - 64 15
C. General principles of the Convention 65 - 76 16
D. Civil rights and freedoms 77 - 109 17
E. Family environment and alternative care 110 - 151 22
F. Basic health and welfare 152 - 185 28
G. Education, leisure and cultural activities 186 - 215 34
H. Special protection measures 216 - 265 39
Map of Liberia 53
American Colonization Society
Assisted Enrolment Programme
Accelerated Learning Programme
Board of Accreditation for Welfare Institutions
Crude death rate
Center for Democratic Empowerment
Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against
Christian Health Association of Liberia
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Expanded Programme on Immunization
Female genital mutilation
Forerunners of Children’s Universal Rights for Survival, Growth and
Gross domestic product
International Committee of the Red Cross
International non-governmental organization
Liberia Commission on Human Rights
Liberia Electricity Corporation
Liberia Medical Board
Liberian Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs
National AIDS Control Programme
National Women Commission of Liberia
National Reunification and Reconciliation Commission
Organization for Children and Adolescent Mothers
Public Health Law
Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
Voice of the Future
Women and Children Coordination Affairs Unit
World Health Organization
Women Development Association of Liberia
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
A. Land and people
is a country in transition from a war-induced, complex emergency situation to
recovery and development. The general condition
is that of a lack of basic
lifesustaining necessities, including physical infrastructure and professional
personnel (brain drain),
resulting in a prolonged period of returning to pre-war
levels and movement towards development.
is located on the bulge of the west coast of Africa, a subregion laden with
several socio-economic and political difficulties
that present a formidable
challenge to national development. Nevertheless, the subregion also presents an
opportunity for the fostering
of national and international goodwill toward
rebuilding the capacity of the country, to assure its primary role of protecting
rights, particularly those of children and women.
total area of Liberia is 111,370 km2, situated north of the equator
(see annex, map of Liberia). Liberia is bounded on the north by Guinea, the
south by the Atlantic
Ocean, to the east by Côte d’Ivoire and on the
west by Sierra Leone. Liberia has a coastline of 579 kilometres. The
Liberian border with Guinea is 515 kilometres, with Côte d’Ivoire,
615 kilometres, and with Sierra Leone, 254
country generally has tropical rainforest vegetation, characterized by a
predominance of leguminous trees and small volume of
timber trees. These
natural resources, together with the tropical rainforest, not only provides the
major export-earning base for
the Liberian economy but also ensure the
livelihood of the majority of the rural population, especially the women, who
make up about
75-80 per cent of farm labour and are the chief source of food
security and the nutritional needs of children.
are two climatic seasons in Liberia, the dry and the rainy seasons, with each
covering about six months. The former runs from
November to April, while the
latter spans May to October.
peak agricultural or farming season is from November to April, but this varies
slightly from one region to the other. This is
the high period for farming
activities that require all human resources of the family, including the
children, who are trained to
perform various chores according to their ages.
These chores usually involve driving away birds and insects that destroy the
and, for the older children 15 and upward, planting crops and cutting
Main ethnic groups
are 16 major ethnic groups in Liberia. The ethnic groups, in alphabetical
order, are as follows: Bassa, Belle, Dahn (Gio),
Dei, Gbandi, Gola, Grebo,
Kissi, Kpelle, Krahn, Krao (Kru), Lorma, Mandingo, Mahn (Mono), Mende, and
population is spread throughout the country in 14 major administrative areas,
called counties, and listed below is the figure
of population distribution for
the 16 districts. The official language of Liberia is English. Most Liberians
speak one of the 16
ethnic languages listed below.
Population distribution per tribal languages
Source: 1984 population and housing census, MPEA.
153 years of cross-cultural intermarriages, interactions and tribal associations
which have resulted in a homogenous society,
a child’s traditional
heritage in many cases can easily be linked to several tribes, which provides
several opportunities for
the child’s sociocultural development.
Demographic characteristics of Liberia
population currently stands at 2.6 million and is growing at an annual rate
of 2.4 per cent.
Women account for 50.1 per cent of the population, while men account
for 49.9 per cent. Women of childbearing age, 15-49 years,
43 per cent of the female population and 21.5 per cent of the national
population is young: over half (55.6 per cent) is below the age of 20 years.
Children less than 15 years old account for 46.8
per cent of the population,
children less than 5 years account for 14.4 per cent. Children 0-9 years
constitute approximately 66.5
per cent of the total child population.
Child-dependency stands at 94.0 and old-age dependency is 6.9. Thus, the total
in the population is high, 100.9: this means that, for every 100
adults of working age, there are about 100.9 persons to be fed,
educated and provided medical care and leisure. The dependency burden is
actually much heavier, in view of the very high
Population growth and distribution
population growth pattern is influenced by five factors: (a) the widespread
practice of polygamy, particularly in
rural Liberia; (b) the large proportion of
women of reproductive age; (c) the practice of early marriages - approximately
cent of Liberian girls marry by the age of 16; (d) high fertility, of 6.3
children per woman; and (e) the generally low utilization
household size in urban areas is eight persons, but four persons in rural areas.
This suggests that the pattern in rural to
urban migration has changed over the
last 25 years. In 1974, only 29 per cent of the population lived in
urban areas; by 1984, the
proportion had increased to 39 per cent. The
situation has worsened on account of: (a) post-coup wage increases for the
sector employees, most of whom were in the urban areas; (b) attractive
social life such as cinemas, nightclubs, football games, particularly
Monrovia. The urban centres were also considered as safe havens, compared to
based on pre-war population parameters indicated that Liberia’s population
was expected to stand at 3.6 million
and growing at an annual rate of 3.4 per
cent. The actual population size would, however, not be known until a census is
This is because the sevenyear civil war had affected the levels and
patterns of fertility, mortality, marriage and international
migration, in ways
that were not factored into the population’s estimation process.
Migration: rural and urban distribution
migration into Liberia is very minimal and does not contribute significantly to
population growth. For instance, in
1974, only 3 per cent of the total
population were noncitizens. In 1984, this figure had risen slightly, to 3.4
internal migration problem has two scenarios - urban to rural and rural to rural
movements of the population. Rural-urban migration
has been a problem because
the urban area has more opportunities (educational, health, employment, etc.)
than the rural setting.
rapid urbanization trend, of productive people losing cultural ties with local
communities, while lacking in functional literacy,
numeracy and commercial
skills, and taking longer than normal time for assimilation and acculturation in
urban centres, has two undesirable
consequences: (a) promoting social vices in
urban areas, slums, decay, and crime; and (b) undermining rural production and
generation on account of the premature and unplanned loss of productive
labour on farms in rural communities. Given the lack of
skills of the migrants,
and the inability of the formal sector of the economy to rapidly create jobs, as
well as inadequate support
to promote informal trading and other micro-income
generating activities, social stability may in the long run be
Mortality, life expectancy
population structure and its dynamics, the components of population growth are
crucial for the analysis and formulation of
policies and practices for the
improvement of living conditions. In this regard, fertility and mortality rates
are critical. The
crude birth rate (CBR), declining relative to the pre-war
period, is now estimated to be 16 births per 1,000 population per year.
The crude birth rates for urban and rural areas are 18.2 and 15, respectively.
While the birth rate has declined, the crude death
rate has increased relative
to its pre-war level. The death rate is 23.5 deaths per 1,000 population per
year. The crude death
rates for males and females are virtually identical, at
23.6 and 23.5, respectively. The crude death rates in the rural areas is
at 27.7 than the urban areas (19.3).
leading causes of mortality in children are mainly preventable causes: neonatal
tetanus (23 per cent), acute respiratory infections
(18 per cent), and
malaria (15 per cent).
Infant mortality stands at 117 per 1,000 live births (male: 119 per 1,000 and
female 114 per 1,000) and underfive mortality stands
at 163 per 1,000 live
births. These high rates
place Liberia among the 10 most underdeveloped countries in the world. The
maternal mortality rate of 578 women
per 100,000 live births is also an
indication of serious safe motherhood and childsurvival problems in postwar
expectancy at birth was estimated at 56 years in 1995 and 58 years in 1996, with
females estimated at 60 years and males at 55
years. The national fertility
rate of 6.3 is very high; it is the sixthhighest in West Africa, compared to
Ghana’s 5.5 and
Cape Verde’s 4.1.
Socio-economic and cultural indicators
Liberian economy consists essentially of a strong traditional agrarian sector
comprising largely of subsistence farmers (75 per
cent women), with an average
farm size of one and a half hectares, and a relatively modern sector, comprising
rubber, timber and
mining industries which together account for only 7 per cent
of GDP but 70 per cent of public sector revenue and 60 per cent of
external trade in the 1980s, i.e. before the war. Presently, ironore
mining activities have ceased, but mining of precious minerals,
logging have become lead export commodities. For example, rubber exports in
1998 were equivalent to 67 per cent of total
exports volume. In
fact, in the 1997-1998 periods, agriculture, including forestry, constituted
77 per cent of GDP, with rubber,
timber and rice registering very strong
growth relative to the previous year’s rates.
manufacturing sector is rather small and contributed 8 per cent to GDP
in 1980, 13 per cent in 1995 and 8 per cent in 1998. The
economy has of late been registering steady growth as a result of recent policy
reforms introduced by the Government. In the last
two years, for instance,
GDP increased to 22.7 per cent of the pre-war level and to 29.8 per cent in
1998. Total revenue also increased
by 48.6 per cent over the 1997 amount of
US$ 27.6 million to US$ 53.7 million in 1998.
the other hand, the poor performance of the financial sector since the crisis,
is a contributing factor of the slow growth of the
economy. Of the more than 10
banks that were operating in Liberia before the war, only 5 are now operating.
This is mainly due
to the impact of the war.
Per capita income and inflation
the 1970s, less than 1 per cent of the population accounted for more than 60 per
cent of national income. By the 1980s, per capita
income declined by 2.5 per
cent per annum. In 1998, GDP per capita fell dramatically, by 60 per cent.
The percentage of the population
at that time estimated to be below the poverty
line was 80 per cent (IMF;
which was more than 50 per cent on the eve of the civil crisis,
catapulted to at least 80 per cent during the crisis.
During the latter
part of the 1980s, inflation rose by nearly 10 per cent. In the first
two years of the crisis, inflation increased
than 400 per cent. The agriculture work force that had accounted
for 86 per cent for the total work force in 1970 declined
to 70.6 per cent of
the total work force by 1996.
debt burden of Liberia is estimated at 3.1 billion United States dollars, which
accounts for about 189 per cent of GNP. This
condition takes a heavy toll on
the rights of the child in terms of financing critical areas of health,
education, food security,
environment, political participation, protection
and governance. With the decline of the quality of life, and standard
poverty has become widespread. According to the UNDP Human
Development Report 1996 and 1997 Liberia ranked 158th and
156th respectively, out of a total 174 countries.
to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs’ statistical reports and
studies (1995), the illiteracy rate (average)
of males is 60 per cent, and for
females 74 per cent. Overall, the illiteracy rate in Liberia is 67 per cent.
With an increasing
number of women being heads of household, that is, an
increase from 16 to 19 per cent, the assumption is that a large number of
females pose a critical factor in the entrenchment of poverty for
women and their families. This situation is a major bottleneck
development of children in Liberia.
B. General political structure
Political history and framework of the country
Pre-colonial or indigenous period
pre-colonial or indigenous period was characterized by the coexistence of
various politically segmented ethnic groups that occasionally
united on matters
of common interest. No strong central indigenous political structures were
developed, as was the case with pre-colonial
Nigeria or Ghana.
political unit that can best be likened to a modern political structure and
which was most prevalent in pre-colonial Liberia was
made up largely of related family group(s). The Compound-head wielded power
that was more domestic than
political but also when the need arose had authority
for administering “law and justice” over the members of the
The Compound-head ruled in consultation with a council of advisers or
elders comprised mostly of the “Zoes”, or “high
of the Compound or land.
is also important to note that, in the northern and central regions, attempts
were made to form loose confederations among several
clans and/or chiefdoms, but
these attempts were short-lived, with shifting and negligible success. Along
the coast, particularly
in the south-east, the tribes engaged in extensive
travelling and seafaring, thus putting them more into contact with other
Africans and with European explorers and slave traders.
Colonial period (1822-1839)
colonial period is an epoch when the first group of settlers arrived in Liberia,
from the United States of America, and they established
themselves along the
Liberian coast. The group responsible for this migration was the American
Colonization Society (ACS). Primary
among the reasons for migrating to Africa
- − To
minimize the possibilities for racial blending as more slaves became freed;
- − To
curtail the problem of unemployment, with its attending social unrest and
- − To
establish a beachhead for Christianizing or civilizing people in Africa;
- − To
acquired from the indigenous chiefs of the Bassa and Dey chiefdoms its first
settlement (piece of land), the cape of Montserrado,
and the present-day site of
Monrovia, between 1821 and 1823. The acquisition of this settlement was
followed by the acquisition
of additional settlements by the settlers or
colonialists. These additional settlements included the VirginiaCaldwell,
Royesville, Louisiana, Clay Ashland, and other settlements. Also,
other colonization societies in America acquired lands and established
colonies: Maryland settlement, Sinoe and Bassa settlements. The settlers had
the right to elect members of the colonial council
and to choose a deputy
governor to assist the Colonial Agent. The colonial Government was headed
by an Agent appointed by ACS or
parent groups in the United States. The
first colonial constitution, instituted in 1825 in the Monrovia Colony, provided
participation of the settlers in the Government.
The Commonwealth period (1839-1847)
arrival in Liberia, the settlers began a process of establishing a Government on
the model of what they saw in the United States
colonies - Monrovia, Bassa and Sinoe - formed a Commonwealth of Liberia in 1839
through a new Constitution that provided for the settlement to be headed by a
governor to be likewise appointed by ACS. The Constitution gave the settlers
the right to elect or be elected to the position of deputy governor, and to
enact laws, subject to veto by the
governor. They were also allocated seats on
the Colonial Council and in 1840 were extended the right to elect or be elected
During this period, the court system was installed, the franchise
defined, laws enacted, and internal administrative machinery established.
Unfortunately, the indigenous people were excluded from participation in
decision-making, as they were not bonafide citizens of
years after its establishment, Liberia declared independence in 1847. The
Constitution of 1847 marks the beginning of the Republic of Liberia.
Type of Government
System of governance
has a democratic republican form of Government whereby “All power is
inherent in the people” (article 1 of the
Liberian Constitution). The
Constitution provides a unitary Government comprised of three branches:
legislative, executive and judicial.
governmental institutions and their respective functions are as
(a) The legislative branch is comprised of the House of
Senate and the House of Representatives. The House of Senate is
the President “protempore” who presides in the absence of
the President of the senate (the Vice President of the Republic),
elected two senators per county, for a term of nine years by registered voters.
The House of Representatives is headed
by the “speaker”. The
Representatives are elected by their constituencies for a period of six years.
is based on population, geographic and other factors. The
number of representatives from each county is equal to the
county’s 16 constituencies. The chief function of the
legislative branch is law making.
(b) The executive branch is headed by the President of the Republic, who is
elected by registered voters in the Republic for a six-year
term, along with a
Vice President. The chief function of the executive branch is to execute or
administer the law. The executive
branch therefore comprises several different
machineries to assist the President with his job, at both the national and local
National-level machineries include essentially ministries, autonomous
agencies, and public corporations/enterprises, whose heads
are appointed by the
President with the advice and consent of the Senate. At the local subdivisional
level, the machineries essentially
include local administration at the county,
district, chiefdom, clan, city, borough, township, etc. The administrative
the counties and districts are appointed by the President with the
House of Senate’s advice and consent, while those of the
clans, cities, etc. are elected by the local population involved.
(c) The judicial branch is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
who serves along with four associate justices. The Chief
Justice is appointed
for life by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The
judiciary is chiefly responsible to
interpret the law and to administer justice
or the adjudication of justice.
C. General legal framework
judicial framework of Liberia consists of the judiciary, the circuit courts,
magisterial and juvenile courts, and the justice
of the peace courts. The
judiciary system operates in all of the political subdivisions of the
administrative framework is headed by the Minister of Justice who, as Chairman
of Joint Security, collaborates with the Ministers
of Defence and National
Security, the National Security Agency and the Liberia Human Rights Commission
to ensure a free and transparent
dispensation of justice for all. The Ministry
of Justice is charged with the enforcement of law to promote and enhance the
of human rights. Human rights are rights inherent in every human
is the duty of the Minister of Justice to institute all legal proceedings
necessary for law enforcement. The minister supervises
the activities of the
Liberia National Police, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, the
correctional system and the treatment
of prisoners through the Rehabilitation
roles and responsibilities of these agencies are as
(a) The Liberia National Police preserves the peace,
protects life and property; ensures the recovery of lost or stolen property;
arrests violators of the law; prevents crime; enforces all laws and ordinances;
testifies in court; defends and upholds the laws
of the State; protects human
and legal rights of persons; assists and protects detainees;
(b) The Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization is in charge, under the
direction and control of the Ministry of Justice for administration
of the law,
relative to naturalization, admission, deportation and registration of
(c) The Liberian National Fire Service oversees the operation of an
effective firefighting organization and takes all necessary measures
prevention and control.
to the authority and direction of the President of Liberia, as CommanderinChief,
the Ministry of National Defence has complete
authority over the
Armed Forces of Liberia, including all matters relating to their training
and development of an army in terms
of preparedness and effectiveness. The
President shall however, make all military appointments. The Ministry of
operations of the militia and coordinates its activities with
the national defence programme.
National Security Agency coordinates the activities of all security and
lawenforcement services in all joint operations.
Liberian Human Rights Commission functions independently to further ensure and
implement the basic and fundamental rights of its
citizens. The Commission does
this by investigating complaints by Liberian citizens, as enshrined in the
Constitution and statutory laws of the Republic of Liberia and of international
human rights treaties and conventions to which the Republic of
Liberia is a
signatory, and by liaising with the Government officials charged with the
enforcement of human rights.
Liberia, the Constitution guarantees to each citizen and resident certain basic
and fundamental rights. As a signatory to various international treaties and
conventions which reemphasize and reconfirm these basic rights, the Government
of Liberia is treaty-bound to guarantee, promote,
and protect the rule of
available to safeguard human rights are: (a) habeas corpus; (b) mandamus;
and (c) prohibition.
human rights instruments that are parts of the national legal system are the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention
on the Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which were ratified in 1993 and 1998
respectively. The African
Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and
ILO Convention No. 187 concerning the Worst Forms of Child Labour are presently
the legislature for ratification.
D. Information and publicity
Government of Liberia has supported and continues to support public awareness in
respect of the various human rights instruments
ratified, through activities of
related governmental and NGO institutions, in collaboration with the Ministry of
Ministry of Information is responsible for formulating policies for
communication, which includes the print and electronic media.
In the execution
of its duties, it maintains close contact with all ministries and agencies of
Government, as well as with NGOs
for information dissemination purposes.
regard to children-related activities, the International Children’s Day of
Broadcasting programme is a noticeable example
of the collaboration on
information dissemination regarding children’s human rights activities in
particular, and on Convention
awareness and implementation, through the print,
electronic and traditional channels.
that have increased awareness throughout the country
(a) Immunization, in particular polio eradication, nutrition
and iodine-deficiency awareness, and on HIV/AIDS, and family life that
(b) Special celebrations of the Day of the African Child (16 June) and
International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (12 December)
allows for children to share their views on human rights and national issues
through public interviews mostly targeting Government
officials, including the
President, other activities include debates, essays, arts, among others;
(c) NGOs and other human rights groups are engaged in increased awareness
activities through the distribution of pamphlets, literature
and the Convention
lecture series and debates.
Dissemination and translation of the Convention
to translate the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights include translation
into the various
local vernaculars - example, Vai, Kpelle, Bassa and simple Liberian
pigeon-English. While the translation process
is ongoing, it is slowed by
impediments of inadequate human, logistical and financial resources. Other
government machinery that
translates the Convention on the Rights of the Child
are the ministries of Youth and Sports, Health and Social Welfare, Education,
and Internal Affairs.
Government institution responsible for preparing the report on the Convention is
the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs,
through its Women and
Children’s Affairs Coordination (WCAC) Unit. This unit was established in
1994 to ensure and coordinate
the mainstreaming of gender issues, in particular
women and children empowerment programmes, into the national planning, programme
and budgetary processes.
main objectives of the WCAC unit are:
(a) To collaborate with
relevant institutions in ensuring that the interest of women, children and their
families as well as persons
in difficult situations, refugees and the internally
displaced are articulated at the national and international levels;
(b) To ensure that the capacities of various machineries relative to women
and children are built and strengthened;
(c) To formulate and ensure the enactment of policies and guidelines that
promotes social, economic and political empowerment in
terms of gender
(d) To ensure the effective implementation and reporting on the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women, and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.
II. SPECIFIC INFORMATION AND ASSESSMENT OF CHILD
A. General measures of implementation (art. 4)
though the civil war has hindered smooth implementation of the Convention since
its ratification in 1993, some measures are already
being undertaken by the
Government to harmonize its provisions with other existing national laws. The
Public Health Law of Liberia
is an excellent example.
the Public Health Law, there exist provisions on child abuse, child welfare,
custody, and adoption within the Penal Code and
Domestic Relations Laws that are
harmonized with the Convention in regards to the definition of a child.
publication of the principles and provisions of the Convention is being carried
out through all available channels, both governmental
as well as NGOs and civil
society institutions, such as Voice of the Future (VOF), The Child Mirror
newspaper, and the Child Art
Festival. However, despite these positive
initiatives, which still do require urgent attention to ensure a smooth and
implementation of the process, much has to be done to accomplish
complete translation of the Convention into local vernacular - example,
Kpelle Bassa and simple Liberian pigeon-English. While this process is ongoing,
there are challenges such as inadequate human,
logistical and financial
a means of promoting rural-community involvement and a wider media coverage, the
Government, through the operation of social and
welfare programmes, in
conformity with the Convention, is strengthening the capacity of the rural
network machineries of the print
and electronic media, the national cultural
drama troupe, civic organizations. In particular, women and youth groups, and
County Child Rights Promotion Initiative among others.
1999 a baseline study was commissioned by the Government in collaboration with
the Eminent Persons’ Group on Children, representing
civil society, UNICEF
and the international community to assess the welfare of children and their
families for the development of
a National Plan of Action for children.
This activity was critical for the formulation of policies and the mainstreaming
issues and concerns into the Government plans.
B. Definition of the child
definition of the “child” varies according to several factors
relative to culture or the laws. Generally, a child
is regarded as a person who
has not reached his/her maturity. The stage of maturity is often described as
the state or time of being
of full legal age to make critical lifesustaining
decisions, paramount of which is voting.
Convention defines a child as any person below 18 years of age, except as
otherwise provided by national laws.
Liberian Constitution does not provide a definition of who is a child. It
merely provides for ages in terms of particular circumstances such as the voting
age. Chapter 8, article 77 states that “every Liberian not less than
eighteen years of age, shall have the right to be registered
as a voter and
to vote in public elections and referenda”.
statutory definitions provided are:
- − Working
age: “The age of working under the labour law is not less than 16
years; work is defined as employment of services for fixed wages
over a period or output”;
- − Marriageable
ages: the New Domestic Relations Law (chap. 2, sect. 2.2) states that,
“Marriageable age for male is set at 21 and for females at 18 years.
Under the Revised Administrative Law Governing
the Hinterland, marriageable age
is set at 15 years”;
- − Age
of criminal responsibility: the age of criminal responsibility under the
New Penal Code, (chap. 4, sect. 4.1) is set at 16 years. Furthermore, under
law a person below 18 years is considered “a minor” and not a
“child”. The legal and general definition
of the word
“minor” relates to legal competence or prohibition against certain
acts until a greater age is attained.
The terminology, minor, cannot be
synonymous to that of a child, as the law imputes reasoning to a minor rather
than a child.
- − Recruitment
in the armed forces: prior to the Liberian coup d’état in
1980, Liberia had a regular army and a paramilitary called the Militia. The
Militia was established as a result of the Legislative enactment, which stated,
“Every able-bodied male citizen of the age sixteen up to the age of
fifty was compelled to register in the Militia”. The present
recruitment in the Liberian Army is 16 years.
a means of solving the difficulties imposed by the variations in the definition
of “the child”, which are not always
in the best interest of the
child, a legislative process is being put in place to harmonize these Laws with
definition of a child.
C. General principles of the Convention
Non-discrimination (art. 2)
is no law or policy in Liberia that discriminates against “the
child”. The Constitution of Liberia, chapter II, articles 11 to 26
inclusively, deals with the protection of the fundamental rights of every
regard to the issue of discrimination, article 11 section 6,
states that “all persons, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex,
creed, place of origin or political opinion, are entitled
to the fundamental
rights and freedom of the individual, subject to such qualifications as provided
for in this Constitution”.
this constitutional provision, there are other provisions within the Alien and
Nationality Law, which speak of the criteria
for citizenship. The Penal Code on
criminal discrimination states that “except insofar as otherwise expressly
permitted by law, any public servant or other person who, in the
conduct of the government or of any educational enterprise, place
Labour union, hospital, cafe, hotel, restaurant, transportation facility,
housing facility, or business or public accommodation
generally, either commits
or omits doing an act or threatens to do an act to the prejudice of another
person because of his or his
spouse’s race, colour, clan, tribe, national
origin or religion, is guilty of a first-degree misdemeanour”.
the existence of these administrative laws, there still exist the need to
promulgate policies that would ensure implementation
of programmes that
safeguard the rights of children and their families, especially post-war
peacebuilding and reconciliation programmes.
The right to life, survival and development (art.
20 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia provides for the protection of the right
to life; it states: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty,
of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the
outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provision laid
down in this
Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.”
affirms that all persons are born equally free and independent and have certain
natural, inherent and inalienable rights. Among
these rights are the rights of
enjoying and defending life and liberty, of pursuing and maintaining the
security of the person and
of acquiring, possessing and protecting property,
subject to such qualification as provided for in the Constitution.
right to life of the Liberian child is viewed within the context that Liberia is
just emerging from a devastating civil war in
a subregion that is unstable. In
this regard, it becomes appropriate in the best interest of the child to put
into place social
reform programmes including peace building that involve
policymakers, the children themselves, as well as civil society thereby ensuring
transformation to a culture of peace.
furtherance of the right to life, abortion or any action that interferes with
the life of an unborn child is illegal in Liberia.
However, there have been
reports of criminal abortions both in rural and urban areas in the country. To
combat this, more support
is being given to programmes such as family life and
family planning education, targeting especially the adolescent.
there are several administrative agencies constituted by the Government of
Liberia to ensure life and growth of the child.
These include the Bureau of
Social Welfare and the National Social Security Agency. The programmes of the
Bureau included the formulation
and approval of the nutritional policy on
breast-feeding, immunization, HIVAIDS control and prevention.
addition, there are other institutions involved in the provision of services
that protect life and promote growth and survival
of women and children; these
include the various religious and civic institutions to include: the
Women’s Development Association
of Liberia (WODAL), the National
Women’s Commission of Liberia (NAWOCOL), Save the Children, Children
Assistance Program (CAP),
Liberia Commission on Human Rights (LCHR), Voice of
the Future (VOF), and FOCUS.
are however, several factors affecting the growth and development of the child,
especially the “girl child”. These
include female genital
mutilation and early marriage, which endanger the health status of girls and
lower their social, economic
and political chances in life. In some instances,
a girl child can be engaged for marriage while she is still within the womb, by
traditional bride-price payments to the parents. There and then the future of
the unborn girl child has already been circumscribed.
This practice, although
legally abolished some years ago by the Government, persists in some parts of
factors include the reluctance of people to change their cultural norms and
practices; traditional societies, which interrupt
formal school programmes, and
inadequate resources to support awareness programmes necessary for the
enhancement of child survival
plans of Government to address these problems include, among others, the
resuscitation of communication in particular, rural information
educational institutions throughout the country.
D. Civil rights and freedoms
Name and nationality (art. 7) and preservation of identity
(art. 8): Civil and legal identity
Convention regards the legal status of children as fundamental in protecting
their rights. This includes the right to legal cultural
identity, the right to
a name, nationality, to know and be cared for by one’s parents, as well as
the preservation of such
consonance with these articles, the Liberian Constitution article 27 (b)
provides a legal right of the child to nationality birth registration. The
Public Health law requires that all births
be recorded at the time of birth, and
that such registrations be done within 14 days of birth. The
date of birth, nationality, sex and parents names are to be recorded. In the
event that the child is not born in a hospital
or a health facility, the name of
family relations other than parents who were present at birth of child shall be
under the laws of Liberia, cultural identity in the Alien and Nationalization
Law provides that, “A citizen of Liberia
at birth shall be any person who
is a Negro, or of Negro descent born in Liberia and subject to the jurisdiction
thereof and a person
born outside Liberia whose father (i) was born a citizen of
Liberia, (ii) was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the birth of such
and (iii) had resided in Liberia prior to the birth of such child.”
laws that complement the process include the Public Health Law (subchap. 8,
sect. 51.21). Its requirements complement the constitutional
article 27 (b) making mandatory the recording of birth within 14 days of
birth. The law also provides that, where there
is no physician, midwife or
person acting as midwife in attendance upon the birth of a child, it is the duty
of the father or mother
of the child, the householder or owner of the premises
where the birth occurred, within 14 days after the date of such birth, to
inform the local Registrar of Births, and file the required report.
registration is the community’s first recognition of a child’s legal
existence. Children have a right to a birth
certificate, and, in any case, they
must be registered to gain access to the country’s basic services. In
simple terms, birth
recording and certification are the sine qua non for
guaranteeing the fundamental rights of children. In the absence of it, the
existence of the child becomes an issue, as it relates to the identity,
nationality, and most of all his rights to adequate
protection under the
is mandatory as birth registration is taken seriously by the Government.
Irrespective of citizenship, every birth is by policy
required to be
despite these policies, children’s rights to identity and nationality
through the process of registration are hampered by
(a) The inadequate awareness among a large segment of the
population about the policy, practice and the importance of recording
(b) Inadequate infrastructures: hospitals, roads, and transportation
facilities for the systematic recording of birth;
(c) High illiteracy rates amongst the population, especially the traditional
birth attendant who cannot compile birth records for
onward transmission to the
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
curtail some of these challenges, well-baby clinics and health posts are also
mandated to record birth dates when children are
brought in for treatment.
Other traditional methods such as the description of major events that occurred
when the child was born
are being increasingly utilized to ensure that all
children are registered.
Freedom of expression (art. 13)
freedom of expression exists in Liberia. However, the freedom of expression of
children is usually guided by parents/guardians
in the best interest of the
3, article 15 (a) of the Liberian 1986 Constitution states that “Every
person shall have the right to freedom of expression, being fully responsible
for the abuse thereof. This
right shall not be curtailed, restricted or
enjoined by Government save during an emergency declared in accordance with the
have the right to free speech in the form of debates, public programmes and
social gatherings. However, in the best interest
of the child, the freedom of
expression is guarded by parents and adults. Normally children are not usually
consulted on matters
which affect them.
this regard, the post-war experience shows a gradual change in this attitude due
to the cross-pollination of cultural ideas brought
about by refugees and
internally displaced situations. Child rights advocacy and public sensitization
activities have also been
causal factors. All efforts are being made to
encourage these positive trends through more community sensitization and public
participate in radio programmes, essay contests, peer conflict management in
schools and communities, in artistic contests
sponsored by educational
authorities and international organizations. Other positive activities are the
appointment of a Youth Advisor
to the President of Liberia, Voice of the Future
child advocacy newspaper the Child Mirror, and children’s
parliamentary activities, which were held for the first time in Liberia by the
children of Bong County. It
is highly anticipated that, through the strategy of
decentralizing the Convention implementation, children’s parliamentary
activities are to be institutionalized.
Access to appropriate information (art. 17)
Liberian Constitution guarantees the free flow of information and material from
diversified sources, national and international, except for laws protecting
State security, public morality, etc. It places no restriction on the kind of
information and material that are to be disseminated.
But it requires
individuals to be mindful of the abuse of the freedom guaranteed by this
provision of the Constitution.
mass media disseminate information and material that are of social and cultural
benefit to the child in Liberia. However, these
programmes appear to be limited
both in scope and depth. Many media institutions lack technical equipment, and
of resources, including funds, for programming. Another
critical challenge is the inadequacy of trained personnel to formulate,
and programme children’s programmes.
3, article 15 (b), (c), (d) of the Constitution on freedom of speech and flow of
(a) The right encompasses the right to hold
opinion without interference and the right to knowledge. It includes freedom of
and of the press, academic freedom to receive and to impart knowledge and
information and the right of Liberians to make such knowledge
includes non-interference with the use of the mail, telephone and telegraph. It
likewise includes the right to remain
(b) In pursuance of this right, there shall be no limitation on the public
right to be informed about the Government and its functionaries.
(c) Access to State-owned media shall not be denied because of any
disagreement with or dislike of the ideas expressed. Denial of
such access may
be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.
the lack of resources have affected the operation of the Stateowned broadcasting
station, the Government is encouraging alternative
initiatives through UNICEF,
FOCUS, Forerunners of Children’s Universal Rights for Survival, Growth and
Development, Don Bosco
Homes, and other NGOs to improve the limitation
imposed by prevailing conditions, such as inadequate communication facilities.
for children, programmes and movies censor board will ensure the
provision for educational movies for children. Presently, the movies
board has been reactivated and strengthened to carry out its mandate.
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (art.
3, article 14 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution states: “All persons
shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and no person
shall be hindered in the
enjoyment thereof except as may be required by law to
protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and
freedoms of others. All persons who. in the practice of their religion, conduct
themselves peaceably, not obstructing others and
conforming to the standards set
out herein, shall be entitled to the protection of the law. No religious
denomination or sect shall
have any exclusive privilege or preference over any
other, but all shall be treated alike: and no religious tests shall be required
for any civil or military office or for the exercise of any civil right.
Consistent with the principle of separation of religion
and State, the Republic
shall establish no State religion.”
above Constitutional provision has been generally adhered to. In
other words, religion and its practices are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Everyone is at liberty to worship as he/she pleases, as long as he/she does not
infringe on the rights of others.
tend to pursue religion through the guidance of their parents, who direct them
in the exercise of their rights. Similarly,
Government has and continues to
have the need to protect the child against adverse religious practices.
are increasingly being encouraged to explore, discover and seek answers to
fundamental questions, such as what, why, how,
who, when and where, as a means
of exercising those rights that ensure their growth and that they develop as
Freedom of association and of peaceful assembly (art.
Government of Liberia recognizes the rights of its citizens and all within its
borders to freely assemble. These rights are enshrined
in chapter 3, article
17, of the Constitution which states that: “All persons, at all times, in
an orderly and peaceable manner, shall have the right to assemble and consult
upon the common good, to instruct their representatives, to petition the
Government or other functionaries for the redress of grievances
and to associate
fully with others or refuse to associate in political parties, trade unions and
children of Liberia are free to assemble and associate and this is demonstrated
by the establishment of several child and youth
including: the Federation of Liberian Youth, the Liberian Girl Guides
Association, the Boy Scouts of Liberia,
the Liberia National Students Union,
Young Christian Students, the Red Cross Society, Verity Christian Fellowship,
the National Muslim
Youth Council, Glee Clubs, the high school inter-sport
league, the YMCA and YWCA, youth summer programmes and Hi- Ys.
child rights advocacy groups, all of the aforementioned encourage democratic
practices. Children are informed of their rights,
duties and responsibilities.
The Government communicates with them through dialogues, debates, radio
programmes and parades. Increasingly,
children’s concerns are being given
priority both at home and by the Government.
Protection of privacy (art. 16)
Liberian Constitution recognizes the right of citizens to privacy. It states
that “no person shall be subjected to interference with his privacy
person, family, home or correspondence except by order of a court of competent
limitation imposed on implementation is due to the breakdown of law and order
during the civil war. Other factors are: inadequate
inadequate human resource development and lack of awareness of some law
enforcement personnel and of the general
public of their rights.
Government and its partners have sponsored and are continuing to sponsor
training workshops for security agencies, e.g.
through the International
Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF and USAID training of the police.
education programmes are held by NGOs to enhance people’s awareness.
Government, through its Good Governance programme,
has established a forum for
public education, as well as improved Government mechanisms, e.g., training of
magistrates, Justice and
Peace’s juvenile justice.
Right not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman
or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 37)
Liberian Constitution prohibits torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading
treatment or punishment of all persons, including children.
this regard, chapter 3, article 21 (e) of the Liberian Constitution of 1986
states: “No person charged, arrested, restricted, detained or otherwise
held in confinement shall be subject to torture
or inhumane treatment; nor shall
any person except military personnel be kept or confined in any military
facility; nor shall any
person be seized and kept among convicted persons or
treated as a convict, unless such person first shall have been convicted of
crime in a court of competent jurisdiction”.
have been and continue to be a few violations of this constitutional provision,
due to some level of insecurity still existing
in the society, as a result of
the civil war. However, when such situations have been brought to the attention
of the Government,
notably by the human rights NGOs, the Government has taken
swift corrective measures.
has been an increase in the number of children in conflict with the law, however
there is no widespread torture, arrest and
imprisonment of children in Liberia.
However, in response to the growing concern in civic society and in Government,
have been made in the judiciary for the treatment of children
involved in conflict with the law. Juvenile courts have been established
specifically deal with children and child-related cases. Prison service,
however, needs reforms to permit separate detention
age of criminal responsibility as well as the sentencing of children by capital
punishment are being reviewed in keeping with
growing international practice,
and the respective rules on administration of juvenile justice.
E. Family environment and alternative care
exist legislative, legal and administrative processes or procedures for ensuring
the well-being and best interest of children
within the home and those in
institutional care. The Domestic Law (subchap. A, subs. sec. 4.1), as well as
the Penal Law under chapter 4, sections 31.3 and 32.1, guarantee these
rights. The Bureau of Social Welfare of the Ministry
of Health and Social
Welfare has adopted accreditation guidelines pertaining to standards and
criteria for orphanages and welfare
institutions throughout the country as one
of the key implementation strategies to this provision.
Parental guidance (art. 5) and parental responsibilities
(art. 18, para. 1 and 2)
Liberian Domestic Relations Law recognizes the responsibility of the parents and
guardians for the care and welfare of their children.
The Law (subsect. 4.1)
recognizes husband and wife as joint natural guardians; but the father is
paramount upon separation.
Law states the following:
“A married woman is a joint natural
guardian with her husband of the minor children of their marriage while they are
together and maintaining one household. Each such parent shall, however,
be equally charged with their care, nurture, welfare and
“However, in the event when such parents are living in a state of
separation, the father shall be the custodian of the minor
children of the
marriage as against the claim of any person whomsoever. But if he is unable or
morally unfit to perform his parental,
legal, moral and natural duties towards
his children, or for any other reasons he fails or neglects to perform such
petition to a circuit court for a writ of habeas corpus or other
appropriate relief and a showing in the proceedings thereon of such
moral unfitness or failure on the part of the father, the minor children of the
marriage shall be entrusted to the mother
or some other person who is capable of
performing such duties. If the father is dead or absent, the mother shall have
the minor children of their marriage, unless it is established that
she is unable or unfit or failing to perform her duties toward
difficulties encountered by the State in ensuring the implementation of this
provision are embedded within socio-cultural and
economic factors. Critical
among these are the practice of polygamy and the low earning capacity of
parents, complemented by the
increase in the number of female heads of
household, as well as the war-induced separation of families and the resultant
within the family structure.
solve some of these problems, the Government has increased the minimum wage of
civil servants and, through NGO initiatives, introduced
initiatives for economic self-sustainability, through micro-credit and grants as
well as agriculture including
gardening and cash crop farming.
Separation from parents (art. 9)
is not a practice in this country to separate a child from his/her parents.
Whenever a situation arises where it becomes difficult
for both parents to live
together (that is, in the event of a separation of the parents and a dispute
arises as to who should have
legal custody of the child), the State ensures
protection of the child in its best interest.
Liberia, placing a child in the custody of one of the parents does not in any
way prevent that child from maintaining direct contact
with the other parent.
Also, if a child is separated from his/her parents, for whatever reason, there
is no law that prevents that
child from maintaining a direct contact with either
one of the parents or both. The exception in this is always in the best
of the child. Again, when it comes to civil law marriages, these rules
are observed. However, in the case of customary marriages,
the interests of the
women are often compromised due to fact that they are under customary laws and
thereby considered as the “property”
of their husband, who paid a
dowry for them.
the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) has presented a bill on the
“Devolution of Estate and Divorce
Rights” to the legislature, which
will give to rural women the same basic human rights in marriage as women under
whenever a separation occurs as a result of an action initiated by the Liberian
State, the children or relatives or persons
affected, are informed through
general public means, which is most frequently through print media - especially
is found in various provisions of the law according to the nature and internal
situation. As under the Law on Parental
Guardians (art. 5, 18) for example, in
the event of death, war, and divorce, the Probate Court has territorial
the appointment of guardians for the child. In instances
where the inheritance of property is involved, the best interest of the
the overriding factor in the courts’ decision.
due to the civil war, there is a large number of children separated from their
parents as abandoned, orphaned, and displaced
children. Within the context for
programmes for training and rehabilitation, etc. of waraffected children in
the issue of children separated from their parents is
Family reunification (art. 10)
chapter 3, article 13 of the Constitution, Liberia guarantees the free movement
parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that
both parents have common responsibilities
for the upbringing and development of
the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary
for the upbringing and development of the child. The best
interests of the child will be their basic concern.
law on the fundamental human rights states that “every person lawfully
within the Republic of Liberia shall have the right
to move freely throughout
Liberia, to reside in any part thereof and to leave there from subject, however,
to the safeguarding of
public security, public order, public health or morals or
the rights and freedoms of others”.
in Liberia, children migrate along with their parents for socio-economic and
political reasons. For their social advancement
such as educational pursuit,
they may reside with either relatives or guardians who are economically abled to
maintain, and nurture
their growth and development.
the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the
Convention, States parties shall render appropriate assistance
to parents and
legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and
shall ensure the development of institutions,
facilities and services for the
care of children.
and international organizations in collaboration with the Government of Liberia
have undertaken various initiatives to reunite
the children with their families.
In the event that immediate reunification is not possible, due to death or
instability of family
members, children are placed temporarily in homes or
institutions, where their welfare is attended to until they are
Recovery of maintenance for the child (art. 27, para.
recovery of maintenance for the child is an uncommon practice in Liberia.
However, the law states: “In any action brought
to declare the nullity of
a void marriage, or to annul a voidable marriage, or for a divorce, the Domestic
Relation Law of Liberia
recognizes the State’s responsibility to ensure
that parents fulfil their obligation to their offspring, whether in terms of
care, education and maintenance”.
this regard, the Custody and Maintenance of Children of Marriage Law, (subsect.
“If an issue is presented concerning the custody
of or right to visitation of any minor child of the marriage or concerning
care, education and maintenance of any such minor child or of any child of the
marriage twenty-one years of age or older who
is unable to maintain himself and
is or is likely to become a public charge, the court must give such direction
between the parties
for the custody, care, education and maintenance of any such
child or the parties, as, in the court’s discretion, justice requires,
having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and
to the best interests of the child. Such direction
may make provision for the
education and maintenance of such child out of the property of either of both of
its parents. Such direction
may require the payment of a sum or sums of money
either directly to the wife or to third persons for goods or services furnished
for such child, or for both.”
Government of Liberia recognizes the right of every child to a standard of
living adequate for his/her development. However,
programmes to directly assist families who lack the capacity to provide the
basic necessities for their children
are inadequate, especially given the civil
crises that has exacerbated strenuous economic situation.
Liberian people recognize the importance of early childhood development. As a
consequence of this recognition, parents or guardians
strive to provide the
basic necessities for their children within the limit of their abilities.
Domestic Relation Law is, however, silent on the issue of parents who reside
outside of Liberia. As a result, the system to undertake
the recovery of
maintenance for the child from parents or other persons having financial
responsibility for the child whether within
Liberia or abroad is nonexistent.
This has lead to the inability of families to pursue these matters when such a
through the extended family system, the welfare of a child is entrusted to the
care of economically secured relatives
or close family friends as guardians.
This takes place as a means of ensuring the best interest of the child, in terms
of the child’s
social growth and development. While the practice has its
advantages, it does have some drawbacks in terms of breaking social-cultural
linkages between the child and his natural parents and the traditional
Children deprived of family environment (art.
State provides for alternative care for the children who cannot reside with
their parents, thus ensuring their protection and
care. In this regard,
children who are in conflict with the law, i.e. juvenile delinquents, are
usually entrusted to foster parents
or placed in institutions for
rehabilitation, following which, they are usually united with their parents.
Similarly, abused children
are provided social welfare services including trauma
counselling. Concomitantly, the extended family system in Liberia takes care
most unfortunate developments in the life of
a child. However, in the case of a refugee child, the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in
Liberia, the Liberian Refugee
Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) and other humanitarian
institutions in the country
do provide basic necessary assistance.
Adoption (art. 21)
recognizes adoption to be a part of the process of child development. There are
adoption laws and procedures as well as competent
authorities in place to
implement the laws. In all adoptions, the law requires that the best interest
of the child should be of
paramount concern to those involved in the adoption
are two types of adoptions in Liberia: informal and civil. In informal
adoptions, a relation, a ward, a neighbour or a friend
takes in a child to rear.
In this situation, there is no formal agreement since the courts are not
involved. The only requirement
is the consent of the parents/guardians. The
child can be returned to its natural parent upon request of parents or child.
civil (formal) adoption is the one that requires the processing of documents
through the Court.
Liberia, formal adoption is not a common practice, mainly because of the
extended family tradition. However, the Domestic Relation
Law of Liberia
provides safeguard standards and procedures for adoption, and they have been
law does not prohibit inter-country adoption. There are instances of
missionaries and persons of good will adopting Liberians
and taking them to
reside abroad. In such instances, the Liberian adoption laws prevail since the
adoption occurs in Liberia.
is no known evidence that Liberia has concluded arrangements or agreements,
whether bilateral or multilateral, to ensure that
in the event of intercountry
adoption, competent authorities or organs carry out the placement of the child
in another country.
Liberian Constitution forbids exploitation of children in whatever form. When
an inter-country adoption results in financial gain for those involved in
amounts to economic exploitation and a criminal act. In instances like these,
the State will take appropriate measures to
ensure that such an act does not
take place either in Liberia or with Liberia’s participation.
the event that a petition for adoption is withdrawn, the provision on withdrawal
of consent to adoption (subsect. 4.65), specified
that: “Withdrawal of
any consent filed in connection with a petition for adoption hereunder shall not
be permitted except
that the court, after notice and opportunity to be heard is
given to the petitioners, and to the person seeking to withdraw consent,
it finds that the best interests of the child will be furthered thereby, issue a
written order permitting the withdrawal
of such consent. The entry of the final
order of adoption, however, renders any consent irrevocable.”
Elicit transfer and non-return (art. 11)
Penal Code Law of Liberia prohibits the kidnapping, illicit transfer, or
non-return of children. The State has the mechanism
through the Ministry of
Justice to arrest and prosecute persons who are engaged in such practices.
has signed several bilateral and multilateral agreements that directly or
indirectly protect fundamental rights and prohibits
the illicit transfer and
non-return of children abroad. Liberia is a signatory to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and
the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
These basic rights are enshrined in the Liberian Constitution as fundamental
that the practice of transfer and non-return is not common, the State mechanism
to effectively control the situation tends to
be more reactive than proactive.
Therefore, the necessary awareness, sensitization and training programmes
officers, prosecutors and the general public are to be
put into place to address the situation.
current efforts to address these problems are hampered by the Government’s
limited resources as a post-war country
with a complex development
Abuse and neglect (art. 19), including physical and
psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
law protects children against all forms of abuse; however, the law allows for
corporal punishment as a corrective measure
in the best interest of a child.
Even though punishment is permitted under the law, the degree, and timing, are
guided by the law.
Frequency violators, parents or other are usually punished
by the law. It is important to mention that the law takes into consideration
the fact that under the Convention, the use of corporal punishment infringes on
the rights of children.
force is used for the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the child’s
welfare, including prevention and punishment for misconduct
and the maintenance
of proper discipline, the law ensures that the force used for these purposes is
not to cause or be known to create
a substantial risk of causing death, serious
bodily injury, disfigurement or degradation. In the event this occurs, the
taken to court.
are also administrative measures to deal with situations of child abuse.
However, some of these measures are compromised as
a result of some adverse
social cultural practices, the lack of education and information on these
measures. It is a common practice
to seek harmonization of these grave offences
outside of the legal framework where violators are prosecuted and punished. For
most cases are taken out of court to be handled instead by the
Penal Code (sect. 16.4 of the article on endangering welfare of children)
states: “A parent, guardian, other person supervising
the welfare of a
child under eighteen commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he knowingly
endangers the child welfare by violating
a legal duty of care, protection or
support as specified in section 11.11 (d) of the judicial law.”
Periodic review of placement (art. 25)
Health Law of Liberia gives the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW) the
responsibility to handle welfare issues in Liberia.
The Bureau of Social
Welfare has a Board of Accreditation for Welfare Institutions (BAWI) to serve as
a control mechanism for the
establishment of welfare institutions and for
ensuring their proper management and standards through which MHSW is able to
the activities of orphanages and welfare institutions.
Bureau of Social Welfare has five divisions that monitor the needs and services
provided to children, the disabled, elderly and
other vulnerable groups through
monitoring and bi-weekly visits to homes. The trained social workers ensure the
welfare of the children.
result of war has increased the numbers of displaced and disadvantaged children.
Due to these increases, the Bureau’s logistic
and trained human resources
are inadequate to meet the growing demand. Even with assistance from related
NGOs and donors, most basic
needs for survival are still not being attended to
F. Basic health and welfare
Principal legislative, judicial, administrative or other
measures in force
Government of Liberia recognizes that the provision of the necessary care and
protection for the child starts before birth, and
continues up to and through
age 17, during which period several fundamental issues and factors are brought
to bear with regards to
the right of the child to attain the highest possible
standard of health care. Besides, the Penal Code Law and the Public Health
(PHL) of Liberia also provide guarantees for the health of the nation’s
are numerous specific provisions relevant to the welfare of children. For
example, chapter 12, section 14 of PHL classifies
several diseases as
“notifiable”, and thereby they must be reported upon diagnosis
within the territorial limits of Liberia,
whether on land, in vessels or
aircraft. These diseases include: (a) diarrhoea in neonates; (b) neonatal
impetigom; (c) measles;
(d) tetanus (including neonatal tetanus); (e)
poliomyelitis; (f) mumps; (g) thrush (in children 1 to 17 years); (h)
(i) pertussis; and (j) sexually transmitted diseases (gonorrhea,
syphilis, chancroid, etc). This provision creates the necessary
early detection, proper prevention and effective control of communicable
chapter 13, sections 16 and 17, provide for the issuance of a health
certificate, while chapter 15, sections 2 through
4, provides for registration
of birth within the 14 days of birth. These provisions allow for
proper and adequate planning of services
for children and
mothers, including health and medical care, and appropriate
health information dissemination.
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is the Government’s institution
responsible for the coordination, regulation, supervision
of health, medical and
social welfare services in Liberia. The responsibilities of the Bureau of
Social Welfare are the following:
(a) To cooperate with the
judicial system in its administration of the law relating to juvenile
delinquency, and with any other agencies
of the Government authorized to
administer institutions or activities concerned with social welfare;
(b) To originate and participate in programmes for the promotion of child
welfare and for prevention of juvenile delinquency;
(c) To the extent provided by law, to oversee the care of juvenile
delinquents and homeless children in foster homes, hostels, and
(d) To improve rehabilitation knowledge and its application, to increase the
nation’s supply of trained rehabilitation manpower
and to promote public
understanding about the needs and ability of handicapped people.
every training institution, private or public, including high schools and
colleges, with at least 50 students enrolled,
is required by law to operate a
health facility run by either a physician or a registered nurse. This
provision also calls for compulsory
medical examination of all students on
admission, and annually for every re-admission
(PHL, chap. 51, 65-66).
enabling legislation provides the general legal framework for the maintenance of
the rights of children in Liberia to the highest
standard of health and medical
Institutional infrastructure for implementing
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has in place several programmes and
strategies to translate the legal provisions into practical
realities for the
improvement of the health of the nation. During this crucial period of postwar
health reconstitution, the ministry
has reconstituted the County Health Teams,
and is strengthening the capacity of the teams through short courses, workshops
(MOH reports), and the reactivation of the primary health care
activities in the counties. In addition, specific policies and plans
either revised or developed for several programmes as enumerated under article
Survival and development (art. 6, para. 2)
provisions for the necessary care and protection start before birth, and
continue up to and through age 17. During this period,
issues and factors are brought to bear on the right of the child to attain the
highest standard of health care
and education possible. Prominent among these
are: (a) the multi-factor determinants of the health of mothers and children;
the factors acting on the environment of both mother and children; (c)
complex behavioural factors; and (d) socio-economic factors
to the civil war, Liberia did not have a formal established institution that
dealt with refugee matters, though it provided
assistance to persons, including
children, who entered Liberia seeking refuge. The assistance and protection
accorded such persons
were usually in keeping with internationally acceptable
surest way of ensuring the development of the child is through education.
Toward this end, the Government instituted a Compulsory
Education Policy in
1912. The policy sought to make elementary education in public schools free and
compulsory for all children
of schoolgoing age. In addition, a free-education
law was enacted in 1973 to include junior high school education. The law also
limited the payment of fees in public schools at the secondary level to
registration fees only. In spite of this policy, the illiteracy
rate in Liberia
is unacceptably high (70-80 per cent).
Disabled children (art. 23)
Government of Liberia recognizes the rights of every mentally or physically
disabled child to enjoy a full and decent life with
dignity. Prior to the civil
war, the Government operated a rehabilitation centre that catered to mentally
disabled persons, including
children. The facility, which was located in
Montserrado County, was severely damaged during the civil war and has not been
there are limited facilities rendering special care for disabled children in the
area of education, health and recreation.
Schools and public buildings are not
designed to accommodate disabled persons. There are two specialized schools for
and the deaf. At the moment, only the school for the deaf is partly
this light, facilities and services are being provided both for the care and
rehabilitation of disabled children. These include
the programmes of the
“Group of 77”. The Government during the 1970s established the
Group of 77 under the Office of
the Vice-President of the Republic for the
purpose of supervising the welfare of the disabled persons. The Group’s
and operations are limited to the physically disabled, mainly located
in Monrovia. Members of the Group include children, the Cheshire
for Deaf and the school for the visually handicapped.
the above-mentioned institutions and programmes are providing relevant
assistance to ease the critical humanitarian situation,
the number of disabled
children as a result of the war has increased. In 1997, the findings of a
UNDP-commissioned assessment on
the needs of the injured and disabled in Liberia
reported a prevalence of 16.4 per cent. This high prevalence, above the WHO
estimate, is due to the seven years of war. It is estimated that
disability relating to war and the war-culture in Liberia is 12.7
there is a great need for more facilities to cater to children in especially
difficult circumstances, especially where
they reside. Efforts are being made
through collaboration with international organizations, including United Nations
and UNICEF to produce orthopaedic and other rehabilitative
services. Again, this is an area of concern that requires more collaborative
support. The need for both physical rehabilitation and human resources
development is pressing and therefore cannot be overemphasized.
Health and health services (art. 24)
Government recognizes the right of the child to enjoy the highest attainable
standard of health. The Government enacted a series
of laws, otherwise known as
the Public Health Law of Liberia, to ensure that parents/guardians pay
particular attention, at an early
stage, to the health needs of their children.
The laws provide general and specific guidelines in relation to the health of
child. One such law is the Compulsory Immunization Law that covers children
between the ages of two months to six years. This law
seeks to encourage
parents/guardians to immunize their children against polio, and other
communicable diseases, such as measles,
yellow fever, diphtheria, pertussis,
tetanus, smallpox and tuberculosis.
order to meet the health needs in post-war Liberia, the Ministry of Health and
Social Welfare has either revised or developed new
comprehensive, holistic and
integrated health programmes that include: (a) the Expanded Programme on
Immunization (EPI); (b) the
National AIDS and STDs Control Programme
(NACP), (c) the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, (d) the Malaria
(nicknamed, “Roll-Back Malaria”); and (e) the
Onchocerciasis Control programme. Other child-related programme areas
specific policies and guidelines include: the Family Health Division, the
Information-Education-Communication Division, the
Environmental Health Division
and the Epidemiological Surveillance Division.
disease control (including diarrhoea diseases) activities are also being
reactivated and implemented. The policy on the
Revolving Drug Fund (RDF) is
suspended given the complex post-war financial difficulties that have engulfed
the Liberian people in
general. Physical renovation of health facilities and
support to health manpower development institutions are amongst the priorities
of Government in this immediate postwar period.
The health care delivery system
this complex situation, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and UNICEF
assessed the critically damaged health facilities.
The assessment indicated the
following: 266 of the 490 pre-war health facilities were damaged. At the end
of 1997, only 68 of
the 266 facilities had been reactivated. In 1998, 144
of the 266 public health facilities had been reactivated (see table 2
Health facilities before and after the war
Type of health facility
Source: Liberia Health Sector Assessment (1997 by WHO/MOH) and
Sector Analysis (1999) by UNICEF/MOH.
urban areas, the Government efforts to reduce this imbalance have been limited
by inadequate resources.
terms of complementary medicine that involves herbalist healers, the Ministry of
Health and Social Welfare established a Division
of Complementary Medicine in
the 1980s in recognition of this important alternative health-care system.
Traditional medical practitioners
continue to enjoy the confidence of the people
of Liberia. Bone “setters” and the traditional midwives are the two
of alternative-care medical practitioners recognized as part of the
national healthcare delivery system at the community level at
the moment. These
services are utilized mostly by rural dwellers, especially in the event of
inaccessibility to modern health facilities.
of the key factors that determine quality of health care is the availability of
properly trained health personnel. In the public
sector, the total number of
trained professionals experienced a decline of 70 per cent, from 2,033 in 1989
to 609 in 1998 (MOH reports).
This does not include the trained traditional
midwives (see table 3 below).
Health personnel by category
Medical doctors (MD)
Registered nurses (RN)
Physician assistants (PA)
Certified midwives (CM)
Licensed practical nurses
Source: Liberia Health Sector Analysis, 1999, UNICEF/MOH
the total 260 medical doctors registered with the Liberia Medical Board (LMB)
in 1989, only 32 were registered by 1998, and by
April 1999, a total of
105. Besides, of this figure, only 43 per cent are specialists in various
diseases: 3 per cent are obstetrician/gynaecologists
and 11.1 per cent are
paediatricians. The rest are general practitioners, whose services are
fortunately very useful and crucial
in community-based mother and child-care
implementation of health programmes has not been fully successful on account of
the lack of resources, limited health facilities,
bad roads, cultural practices
and poverty. Less than 30 per cent of the population has access to health care.
Infant and child mortality
in Liberia is among the highest in the world.
Additionally, less than 20 per cent of children are fully immunized.
Government health programme is presently concentrating on capacity-building of
medical-training institutions, including the Tubman
National Institute of
Medical Arts (TNIMA), and the A.M. Dogloitti Medical College among others.
Again, while collaborating with
donors and other partners, the flow of resources
continues to be inadequate, thereby imposing serious handicap.
Social security and child-care services and facilities (art.
26 and art. 18, para. 3)
social security coverage is not comprehensive enough to cover other areas,
including social insurance. Social security
covers only those who are actively
employed and the benefits are limited to the Employment Injury Scheme. There is
a pension scheme
that covers those who have contributed to the scheme and are
retired. The social security scheme does not include unemployment
particular reference to children, section 89.24 of decree No. 14 creating the
National Social Security and Welfare Corporation
of Liberia, states that:
“A child shall be entitled to a child’s allowance
(a) One of the child’s parents is dead;
(b) The child resided with or was maintained by that parent;
(c) And that parent had paid at least fifty (50) monthly contributions;
(d) A child allowance shall be paid until the child attains 18 years of age
or so long as the child continues education in an approved
institution until 21 years of age.”
exists a limitation in the implementation of this decree due to the lack of
public awareness to the decree. Therefore, most
children do not benefit.
Besides this, the procedure for receiving benefit under the scheme is
constrained by bureaucracy.
Standard of living (art. 27, paras. 1 -3)
Government of Liberia recognizes its responsibility to ensure that parents and
others responsible for children are empowered to
fulfil their role of providing
material and other support for their children. Therefore, as a lead employer,
the Government undertook
some adjustment in salaries to lessen the hardship on
public employees. Other exercises will involve pension and other retirement
benefits schemes in order to introduce some improvement in their standard of
Nature and extent of cooperation
non-governmental as well as bilateral and multilateral organizations have been
very actively supportive of the initiatives
of the Government. In the United
Nations system, UNICEF has been the pacesetter in working with Government on
programmes and issues
relating to children. UNICEF’s support for the
revitalization of the County Health Teams, the mass immunization activities
promotion of healthy nutritional practices, support to education revitalization
and awareness of the Convention are obvious examples.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been actively working with the Family
Health Division of the Ministry of Health and
Social Welfare in the designing,
planning and implementation of strategies and programmes for safe motherhood.
WHO continues to
support many of the programmes of the Ministry, relating to
health care in accordance with the Bamako Initiatives (primary-health
and 1987). WHO supports training institutions that provide manpower for various
organizations that are buttressing the initiatives of Government in child-health
care activities include the European Union,
USAID, Save the Children,
Médicins Sans Frontières, Merlin, Africare and Child Aid Direct,
to name a few. Some of
the prominent local institutions include the Christian
Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), Family Planning Association (FPAL),
National Red Cross Society (NRCS), and the Medical Emergency Relief Cooperative
the Government of Liberia recognizes and highly appreciates this cooperation and
appeals for greater assistance to enable
it to meet its increasing demand for
health facilities and services.
recognizes that, unless it undertakes to promote and encourage international
cooperation with the view to achieving the full
realization of the rights
recognized in the present article, its commitment to abiding by provisions of
the Convention will be in
G. Education, leisure and cultural activities
educational system of Liberia has been gravely weakened by the ravages of the
sevenyear war. Consequently, the damaged infrastructure,
the brain drain,
inadequate logistics, teaching and learning materials all contribute to the
difficult learning condition for the
such, the various educational institutions are finding it difficult to
effectively cater to the educational needs of the country.
Legal context and institutional framework
Ministry of Education is the principal custodian for the preservation and
transmission of culture and technology and remains committed
to directing and/or
guiding the process of innovation and change within the education and training
sector of Liberia. The ministry’s
major policy goal is directed towards
the provision of educational opportunities to the citizens of the country.
achieve its objectives, the ministry is organized into three departments each
headed by a Deputy Minister:
- (a) Department
of Administration: (personnel, finance, communication and procurement);
Functions: Provision of technical staff services, conduct of fiscal
affairs, managing physical facilities, contracts, procurement
and custody of the
distribution of supplies and equipment.
- (b) Department
of Instruction: (curriculum, teacher training, basic and secondary
Functions: Responsible for effecting development and
direction of primary and secondary education. Planning of curriculum, selection
of instructional material, setting up of criteria and determination of
professional qualification of teachers, supervision, monitoring
of instruction, certification and licensing of teachers and accreditation of
- (c) Department
of Planning/Development and Research: (planning management of system and
data analysis and education facilities);
Functions: Responsible for the
preparation of plan, conduct of research, design and development programmes for
all aspects of education
and training, including preparation of
master-development plans, preparation of annual budget and statistical
major bureaux are each headed by an Assistant Minister. The bureaux are
directly responsible to address educational needs, as
(a) The Bureau of Primary Education is directly
responsible for supervising all primary schools and is required to ensure that
materials and logistics are provided to facilitate their smooth operation.
This bureau also supervises pre-primary schools to ensure
they perform to
(b) The Bureau of Secondary Education supervises all County and District
Education Officers to ensure that they perform in line with
This bureau is also responsible to ensure the placement of teachers in
(c) The Bureau of Teacher Education, Accreditation and Certification is
required to regulate of teacher-training institutions, to
ensure that standards
are maintained as stipulated by the Ministry;
(d) The Bureau of Vocational and Technical Education supervises the
vocational and technical programmes of the ministry. It is also
identify areas for the establishment of vocational and technical schools;
(e) The Bureau of Planning has the mandate to plan the programmes necessary
to meet the education and training needs of youth.
(f) The Bureau of Curriculum, Textbook and Research is required to develop
curriculum and to produce competitive textbooks for schools,
as well as to
conduct research activities for the Ministry.
Education, vocational training and guidance education (art.
28, of the Convention)
Government of Liberia recognizes the educational needs of its citizens, be it
formal or informal. In this context, article 6
of the constitution states:
“The Republic shall, because of the vital role assigned to the individual
citizen under this constitution
for the social, economic and political
well-being of Liberia, provide equal access to educational opportunities and
all citizens to the extent of available resources. Emphasis
shall be placed on the mass education of the Liberian people and the
Early childhood education
Government attaches great importance to early childhood education as a
foundation for sound moral and academic advancement. The
Ministry of Education
has therefore emphasized the need for qualified nursery and kindergarten
teachers and the provision of basic
materials and conducive environment for
addition, the Government over the years has adopted policies and guidelines,
including the Education Law created in 1912, which
made primary education free
and compulsory. The new Education Law of 3 June 1973 included provision for
junior high school education.
It limits the payment of fees in public schools
at the secondary level to registration fees, which are to be determined by the
of Education. The law makes it a misdemeanour punishable by
six-months’ imprisonment or a fine of $500 for any principal or
who collects or attempts to collect money from a pupil other than that
authorized by statute.
3.1 of the Education Law states that: “Every parent, guardian or other
persons having control of any child between
the ages of six and sixteen years
shall cause such child to attend a recognized public or private school regularly
during the entire
time the school is in session, provided such parents or
guardians have the means to meet the minimum requirements of the school ...
law on completely free education at the elementary and junior high school levels
shall be left dormant during the next five
a means of ensuring the rights of each child to education, the Government has
encouraged free education up to the high school levels.
Section 3.13 of the
Education Law of 3 June 1973 provides the following
(a) Elementary schools and junior high schools
(“No tuition or fees shall be assessed or collected in the public
schools or junior high schools.”);
(b) High schools (“No tuition shall be charged pupils in the high
schools. Students will, however, be charged a registration
fee to be determined
by the Ministry of Education.”)
the implementation of the provision of the Education Laws of 3 June 1973, with
reference to policies on compulsory education and
its availability, much has
been done through Ministry of Education programmes, such as the Assisted
Enrolment Programme (AEP) and
the Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP).
was launched on 2 September 1998, as part of the Government of Liberia’s
decision to prioritize education within the context
of the National
Reconstruction Programme (NRP). The basic framework for AEP is based on
guidelines developed by the Ministry of
Education on the Government of Liberia
“Special Back-to-School” initiative in 1999 to, inter alia,
enrolment, especially for over-aged war-affected children,
thereby discouraging the tendency of dropping out of school.
terms of their achievement, the two programmes, AEP and ALP, have had immediate
and dramatic impact on both the size and structure
of the demography of schools
nationwide. According to the results of the preliminary impact assessment,
primary school enrolment
grew from 291,243 as at June 1998 to 434,671 in
November (an increase of 49 per cent); while secondary school enrolment
from 29,378 in June 1999 to 56,184 in November (an increase of 91 per
was also an increase of 43 per cent in the number of teachers (both qualified
and unqualified) from 10,908 in June to 15,601
of the same period. Other
achievements include the completion of the compressed curriculum and development
and training of teachers
and printing of manuals, as well as career guidance at
the high school and college levels. Career guidance is being reactivated
include elementary and junior high levels.
country is constrained by available resources, which makes it difficult to
reopen existing institutions or to establish new ones.
However, the Government
is collaborating with national and international organizations that are
undertaking reconstruction and rehabilitation
activities, including refurbishing
of schools, vocational and technical institutions, teacher training institutions
and the provision
of instructional materials and supplies. These activities are
ongoing in all counties.
programme which is significantly increasing the awareness of the citizenry of
their rights to education, especially children,
is the Mass Literacy Campaign
Programme. The National Mass Literacy Programme was launched on 8 September
1998, on the theme “Each
One Teach One”. Its aim is to reduce the
illiteracy rate from 70 per cent to about 35 per cent by the year 2001. This
is envisaged as a national call for the participation of each
literate citizen to make at least one other person literate.
efforts are made to forge new partnerships and alliances for vocational training
for ex-combatants, including adolescent
child soldiers. The partners involved
are Phelps Strokes, EZE, ICCO, Don Bosco, CAP, LOIC, and OCAM.
positive achievements, there are some challenges to the implementation of these
programmes. These include inadequate resources
for speedy renovation and
rehabilitation of schools and roads, inadequate support for capacity-building
for teachers and the provision
of other incentives. Other challenges are
usually derived from culture and traditions, which imposed barriers that hinder
educational process of the child, especially the “girl
child”, from obtaining formal education, for example, early marriage
emphasis in free education has been more on general education than vocational
education. However, within the context of article
6 of the Liberian
Constitution, vocational training and guidance are provided through both
Government and private institutions. There is generally no restriction
making educational information available.
Aims of education (art. 29)
Liberian educational system seeks to develop and ensure that every child attains
the fullest potential in life. It also seeks
to develop respect for positive
cultural and national values as well as civic responsibilities in local
this regard the Educational Law of Liberia describes the educational philosophy
of Liberia as embedded within the policies, principles
and law enacted or
stressed by former policy makers. These philosophies laid emphasis on personal
growth and development, responsible
citizenship, cultural appreciation,
curriculum diversification, universal education, national unification and
As a means of attaining these goals and
objectives, the school as an institution is to serve as a conduit for imparting
ideals, including social, political, moral, spiritual and economic
reforms. Within this context, policy statements, including principles
by successive leaders, have established the framework for the formulation of
these educational policy guidelines.
the above, the Liberian educational philosophy aims at developing the whole
child including his moral, cultural, physical and
Additionally, lessons learned from the civil crises have motivated emphasis on
respect for human rights
and fundamental freedom, peace, tolerance as well as
respect for the natural environment. The growing concern for human rights and
the environment, to a large extent, are post-war positive developments, which
need to be encouraged.
Ministry of Education’s responsibilities in this mission entail the
management and provision of educational services across
the country. Education
is ranked second in terms of Government’s capital investment. However,
there is a critical need for
increased investment. All efforts are being made
to increase the education budget to at least pre-war level, as soon as the
Leisure, recreation and cultural activities (art.
Government recognizes the rights of children to rest and leisure, to engage in
play and recreational activities appropriate to
their ages. The Constitution of
Liberia provides, in article 11, section A, for the fundamental rights of
all citizens, including the rights of the child to enjoy
life and liberty, which
includes leisure, recreation and cultural activities. Furthermore, article 5
(b) of chapter 3 of the Constitution states: “The Republic shall
preserve, protect and
positive Liberian culture, insuring that traditional values which are compatible
with public policy and national progress
are adopted and developed as an
integral part of the growing needs of the Liberian society.”
give effect to these constitutional provisions, the Government has established
two institutions, namely, the Ministries of Youth
and Sports, and Information,
Culture and Tourism, as legal frameworks for mainstreaming these fundamental,
with regards to children and youth development in the
Government’s planning and budgetary processes.
mandates of these institutions are: the Ministry of Youth and Sports has the
direct functions of developing the social and national
Liberian youth (including the children) and of educating them, morally and
physically. The Ministry of Information,
Culture and Tourism is responsible for
directing and supervising all matters relating to information programmes, both
external and all programmes and activities relating to culture and
tourism in Liberia.
the authority of the Ministries of Information, Education, and Youth and Sports,
there are organizations, both governmental
and non-governmental, that carry out
activities that prepare children in terms of the above activities. Moreover,
the Ministry of
Education’s curriculum includes gender equality, family
life education and civic education.
the Ministry of Youth and Sports, in collaboration with other ministries and
international NGOs, joins in activities
surrounding the celebrations of national
and international programmes for children, i.e. the Day of the African Child,
of awareness activities on the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
as well as recreation programmes nationwide.
respects the rights of children to promote their cultural and artistic life.
The encouragement of young people to engage
in cultural and artistic activities
is shared by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, the
Ministry of Youth
and Sports and the Ministry of Education. These institutions
pursue a number of activities, prominent among which are sporting events,
cultural troupes and artistic contests.
schools have cultural troupes, gala day festivities, sports meets and beauty
pageants. At the national level, the State supports
a national cultural centre
located just a few miles outside Monrovia, the capital city, where boys and
girls who are desirous of
fostering their traditional cultural practices are
encouraged to go. Additionally, there are other cultural troupes that are
by private individuals that contribute to the growth, development and
maintenance of Liberian cultural heritage.
H. Special protection measures
Government of Liberia recognizes the right of all citizens to the protection of
the law. Article 11 (c) of the 1986 Liberian
Constitution states that:
“All persons are equal before the law and are therefore entitled to the
protection of the law.” By Acts
of legislation, the Government of Liberia
has constituted a number of public agencies with the Ministry of Justice as the
for ensuring the protection of life and property for all persons
within the territorial confines of Liberia, as well as abroad in
with Liberian foreign missions.
Children in situations of emergency
Refugee children (art. 22)
its founding as a place of refuge for individuals fleeing persecution, Liberia
has provided assistance to all persons, including
children, seeking refuge in
keeping with international standards. Since 1951 when the Republic of Liberia
became a party to the
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, it has
continued to be a safe haven for refugees fleeing either persecution or any
other condition that necessitates forced migration and the search for
to the civil war, Liberia did not have a formal established institution that
dealt with refugee matters. In 1993, an act of
the national legislature created
the Liberian Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) to provide
protection to men
and women who fled in search of safety during the civil war.
In particular, section 2 of the LRRRC Act refers to protection of any
the refugee population under the age of 18 years.
estimated population of refugee children is 48,303 (49.6 per cent males and
50.4 per cent females). Children accounted for 51.25
per cent of the
total refugee population.
the scope of its limited resources, Liberia, in collaboration with both local
and international organizations, is catering
to the situation of these refugee
children by providing protection, food, shelter, clothing, education, medical,
needs and recreational facilities. The tracing of parents and
guardians, with the aim of reunifying refugee children, constitutes
component of this assistance. It should be noted that Government partnership in
the protection and welfare of refugees also
extends to the large number of
Liberian children wishing to return home. Given this large influx of returnees,
the need for requisite
and additional assistance to cope with the situation is
Children in armed conflicts (art. 38) including physical and
psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
to the civil war, children had never been involved in armed conflicts. Liberia
defence law prohibits the recruitment of persons
into the army below the age of
16. Despite this provision of the law, a large number of persons below the
legal age were conscripted
by the various factions into their fighting
rehabilitation and reintegration of these former child soldiers, whose exact
number is not known, is one of the critical concerns
of the Government of
Liberia. To address this concern, the National Veterans’ Programme was
in collaboration with the United Nations and other international organizations
and local NGOs, trauma counselling, vocational
skills training, literacy
programmes as well as an economic reintegration package in the form of small
credit schemes to this category
of children are being provided.
non-governmental organizations, such as the Don Bosco Homes, the
Children’s Assistance Programme (CAP), the Organization
for Children and
Adolescent Mothers (OCAM), Mother Pattern’s Women in Health and
Development Programme and Abused Women and
Girls (AWAG), Liberia
Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC) and Lutheran World
Federation/World Service (LWF/WS) operate
programmes addressing the physical or
psychological plight of children who are victims of neglect, exploitation or
torture or any other forms of cruel, inhumane or degrading
treatment or punishment.
addition to programmes targeting former child soldiers, in collaboration with
local and international NGOs, support is also provided
to support the War
Affected Youth Programme (SWAY) which focuses on war-affected children.
Complementary public programmes include
the Ministry of Education’s
implementation of the Accelerated Learning Programme and the Ministry of
and Vocational Youth Training Programme. As a result
of these and other efforts the level of social reintegration is
Children in conflict with the law
The administration of juvenile justice (art. 40)
Liberia, every individual accused of or alleged to have committed an offence or
who is recognized as having infringed the penal
law, is presumed innocent until
proven guilty before a court of competent jurisdiction. This provision of the
law also applies to
children who have attained the age of criminal
responsibility. There is no ex post facto law in Liberia; no one can be
for committing an offence that was not prohibited by law at the time of
its commission. The Constitution of Liberia provides that anyone accused or
alleged of committing an offence shall be promptly informed of the charges
of his/her right to remain silent and the right to counsel.
The Constitution also provides that the accused shall not be compelled to give
testimony or confess guilt, and he/she shall have the right to confront
crossexamine adverse witnesses as well as the right to appeal.
law provides that the accused shall have the right to an interpreter if he/she
cannot understand or speak English or the language
being used by the court and
guarantees the right to privacy of an accused person.
Penal Law of Liberia places the age of criminal responsibility at 16 years.
This means anyone below age 16 cannot be made liable
for any criminal act
committed by him/her since he/she is presumed to be innocent.
21 (h) of the Constitution of Liberia stipulates that “in all cases, the
accused shall have the right to speedy, public and impartial trial by a jury
the vicinity ...”. Juvenile cases are held in a juvenile court and are
held in camera. The establishment of juvenile courts
as stipulated within the
New Judiciary Law ensures that the provisions of the Constitution are
appropriately applied to children.
court’s procedure provides for due process of law, and stipulates that
“all special proceedings thereunder concerning
juveniles shall be dealt
with in separate hearings and without a jury. The general public shall be
excluded from the hearing”.
though the act creating the first juvenile court was enacted in 1971 to handle
cases involving children in conflict with the
law (which was previously handled
by magisterial courts), the first juvenile court in Liberia was established in
1997. These courts
exist presently in three counties, with plans to expand to
the rest of the country. However, issues such as separate detention facilities
for children are yet to be addressed.
Government, in collaboration with USAID, United Nations agencies and NGOs, is
providing both financial and technical support for
the training of magistrates
and other court officers. To further ensure the protection of child returnees,
who may be found in conflict
with the law, magisterial courts in the bordering
counties were also strengthened to further ensure the protection of child
who may be found in conflict with the law.
Children deprived of their liberty, including any form of
detention, imprisonment or placement in custody setting (art. 37 (b), (c)
in Liberia are usually not deprived of their rights. The Penal Code
(chap. 11.42) stipulates that “no juvenile under
the age of sixteen
(16) years shall be detained or placed in any prison, jail, lockup or police
station except for good cause upon
an order of a judge of a juvenile court in
which the reasons therefore shall be specified”.
Liberia, anyone having probable cause to believe that a juvenile is within the
purview of the code may file a petition against
the child. This petition
originates with the police, who may dispose of the case or forward said petition
to the juvenile court.
The peace officer (police) may take the juvenile in
protective custody without a warrant and this is not to be construed as an
to the inadequacy of detention facilities, it has been difficult to separate
children from adults when placed in detention. However,
efforts are on the way
in collaboration with the relevant NGOs to construct juvenile cells and transit
points. Besides being deprived
of their liberties by the courts, parents as a
form of punishment or discipline at times detain their children in an isolated
of the home. Most frequently within their rooms.
The sentencing of juveniles, in particular the prohibition of
capital punishment and imprisonment (art. 39 (a))
law prohibits a juvenile from undergoing capital punishment and imprisonment.
The Penal Law, chapter 4.1, states that “a
person is not criminally
responsible for his behavior when he is less than sixteen years of age. In any
prosecution for an offense,
the lack of criminal responsibility by reason of
immaturity is an affirmative defense. A person under sixteen years of age who
an act, which would be an offense if committed, by a person over
eighteen, shall be subject to provision of Juvenile Court Procedure”.
Liberia, juveniles are afforded all the rights and privileges provided for
adults in the criminal process, i.e. the rights to remain
silent, to counsel, to
a speedy trial, among other rights.
11.7 of the Penal Law provides for the disposition of juvenile delinquents.
“The Court by order duly entered, [can]
make said disposition by
repatriating the juvenile to the village of the native residence; requiring
restriction or the payment of
a fine; suspending judgment, continuing the
proceeding, probation, or placing the child in the custody and care of a youth
on the issue of a capital offence, chapter 31.1 (12), states: “The Court
shall sentence a person who has been
convicted of a capital offence to death by
hanging.” However, the Liberian Criminal Procedure Law states that when
is under the age of sixteen years, no sentence shall be imposed
except for non-capital offence.
Children in situation of exploitation, including physical
and psychological recovery and social reintegration (art. 39)
Economic exploitation, including child labour (art. 32)
Labour Law states that the age for work is not less than 16 years.
major work activity of children is petty trading, which is not traditionally
considered as child labour in Liberia. These activities
are considered as
assistance to their parents, or guardians who are not financially able to
maintain and support a family and educate
activities of children who are considered “working children” may be
classified as street trade and domestic work.
is not a practice in Liberia for children to be employed and paid for services
rendered. However, even though studies have shown
that 23.9 per cent of
children trade or work for parents as a part of the children’s domestic
duties, the Government does not
see this as harmful, but considers it as a part
of discipline to make the children thrifty, self-sufficient and responsible
Drug and alcohol abuse (art. 33)
Penal Law prohibits the sale or serving of alcoholic beverages to children, as
well as the employment of children in the sale
of alcohol. The law is however
silent on the issue of the purchase of alcoholic drinks and cigarettes by
the purchase of drugs, the Public Health Law of Liberia deals only with the
regulation of drugs by pharmacists, hospitals,
Government and wholesale dealers.
There is no specific reference to children on the regulation, sale and
trafficking of drugs. The
law simply makes it a felony in the first degree for
anyone to sell narcotic drugs without written prescription from a physician
veteran. Also, it is unlawful for an unauthorized person to be in possession of
drugs. Unauthorized possession is considered
as a misdemeanour of the second
Government, in collaboration with local and international NGOs, is implementing
public awareness and sensitization programmes
in an effort to reduce or
subsequently eliminate the demand for alcohol and illicit drugs from Liberian
society. The National Inter-Ministerial
Drug Commission, in collaboration with
the Ministry of Education, has developed an anti-drug curriculum for all
schools, which came
into effect during the academic year 2000.
programmes include drug and alcohol prevention and drug rehabilitation education
and counselling. The Liberian Police also
provides a radio programme to the
community on “alcohol and you”. Besides these programmes, the
Government is building
the capacity of law enforcement officers on drug
Sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (art. 34)
New Penal Code of Liberia protects children below the age of 16 years against
sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. The law states
in part that a male who
has sexual intercourse with a female who is not his wife has committed rape if
the female is less than 16
years of age, provided the male is 16 years or
inducement of children is a crime under the law. Sexual coercion of children is
a crime in that an adult male brings undue
pressure on a minor child.
Penal Law of Liberia (chaps. 14.76, 14.27, 14.78) speaks about sexual abuse of
wards, sexual assault, rape and sexual crimes against
children. These articles
state the following:
- − Sexual
abuses of wards (art. 14.76) “A person who has sexual intercourse with
another or any person who engages in deviate sexual intercourse when
to such act are not married to each other, has committed a first-degree
(a) The person is in official custody or
detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has
supervisory or disciplinary
authority over the other person; or the actor is his
or her guardian or acted as the guardian.
(b) The other is less than twenty-one years and the actor is his or her
guardian or acts as the guardian.”
− Sexual assault (art. 14.27): “A person who knowingly has
sexual contact with another person or causes such other to have sexual contact
him or her, when they are not married to each other has committed a
second-degree misdemeanour if:
(a) The other person is less than
twenty-five years, provided that the actor is sixteen years of age or
(b) The other person is less than twenty-one years of age and the actor is
his or her parent, guardian or acts as his guardian;
(c) The other person is less than sixteen years of age and the actor is at
least five years older than the other person is.”
− Rape (art. 14.78): General provision relating to sexual crimes
against the person as to age, states, “when the criminality of conduct
depends on the child being below the age of sixteen, it is of no defense that
the actor did not know the child’s age or actually
believed the child to
be older than sixteen”.
a result of the civil conflict, which led to the breakdown in the family
structure and massive separation of families into displaced
internal situations, anecdotal evidence depicts an increase in sexually abused
persons, especially women and children
“the girl child”.
Other forms of exploitation (art. 36)
Penal Law makes provision for prostitution as a felony or misdemeanour depending
on the nature of the case. Article 18.3 of the
Penal Code states that,
“Any person who facilitates or promotes prostitution has committed a third
degree felony if he or she
purposely causes another to become or remain a
prostitute by force or threat, or the prostitute is the actor’s wife,
or ward or a person for whose care, protection or support the actor is
responsible, or the prostitute is in fact less than sixteen
sexual exploitation is frowned upon and condemned in any form within Liberian
society. However, this differs on a case-by-case
basis. Within the context of
the traditional extended family scenario, most cases are handled outside of
court where the perpetrator
is fined according to custom or forced into marriage
with the victim. Whereas, when the case is taken to court, the suspect is
tried and when found guilty bears the full weight of the law.
as a means of dealing with war-induced sexual violence against children and
women, Government, in collaboration with
several NGOs and women’s groups
has instituted several trauma-counselling programmes that include medical
assessment and vocational
skills training. Research activities in the area of
violence against women and children, particularly the girl child, is being
out nationwide to enable the Government to undertake appropriate legal
actions, rehabilitation projects and educational programmes.
spite of this legal provision, there is seemingly a high incidence of child
prostitution as evidenced by the number of children
found on the streets and in
the Penal Law of Liberia protects children against all forms of exploitation,
there do exist some forms of exploitation. Socially
and economically, children
are being exploited when they are married at early ages, taken advantage of by
well-off persons in the
society or used as sex workers. In their homes,
children are exploited when they live with people who do not offer them
for advancement but use them exclusively to conduct difficult and
strenuous domestic chores at all times.
eliminate these unwholesome situations, much is being done to ensure that
children, in particular wayward children and abandoned
children, who are
vulnerable, are not victimized. Special programmes run by religious
institutions, women’s NGOs as well as
other local and international
organizations, provide shelter and counselling. Vocational skills can make them
Guardianship is needed until children are reunited with their
families and other Government interventions should increase after the
reactivation of transit points.
Sale, trafficking and abduction (art. 35)
Constitution protects all persons from abduction in any form. The Penal Code
(subchap. C, art. 14.50) states:
“A person is guilty of
kidnapping if he unlawfully removes another person from his place of residence
or business, or a substantial
distance from the vicinity where he is found, or
he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of isolation,
with any of the following purposes:
(a) To hold for ransom or reward;
(b) To use as a shield or hostage;
(c) To hold him in a condition of involuntary servitude;
(d) To facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter;
(e) To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another;
(f) To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political
“Kidnapping is a felony of the first degree, unless the actor
voluntarily releases the victim alive and in a safe place prior
to trial, in
which case it is a felony of the second degree.
“A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this
section if it is accomplished by force, threat, or deception,
or, in the case of
a person who is under the age of 14 or incompetent, if it is accomplished
without the consent of a parent, guardian
or another person responsible for
general supervision of his welfare.”
14.51 on felonious restraint states:
“A person commits a
felony of the third degree if he knowingly:
(a) Restrains another unlawfully in circumstances exposing him to risk or
serious bodily injury; or
(b) Restrains another with the purpose of holding him in a condition of
though these situations are not prominent in Liberia because of extended family
ties, there are domestic situations that result
in the abduction of a child by
one parent. In most instances, the cases are external and take a longer time to
handle because of
diplomatic protocols and bureaucracies.
is little evidence of abduction, sale or trafficking in children, for whatever
purpose, in Liberia. There is, however, the
story of a young lady who was taken
away from her parents in 1991, by a foreign national working with one of
the United Nations agencies,
under the pretext of assisting her, but who
eventually ended up exploiting her.
legislation does not deal sufficiently with crimes such as domestic abduction,
kidnapping, baby-snatching and the sale and
trafficking of children. There is a
general lack of information in this area and data needs to be collected.
as well as children need to be educated about these
Children belonging to a minority or an indigenous group (art.
11 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia stipulates that “all persons are
born equally free and independent and have certain natural, inherent and
rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending life and
liberty, of pursuing and maintaining the security of the person
acquiring, possessing and protecting property, subject to such qualifications as
provided for in this Constitution”.
situation of children belonging to a minority or an indigenous group is not
familiar to Liberia. Each ethnic group has equal
rights under the law. The
religious and ethnic tensions in the country are the outgrowth of the civil war.
Prior to the civil war,
the various ethnic and religious groups in Liberia lived
in relative harmony. But the role played by certain ethnic groups during
civil war gave rise to ethnic and religious tensions. Peace building and
conflict resolution activities are being undertaken
in collaboration with the
National Reunification and Reconciliation Commission (NRRC) was established
in 1997 to ensure reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.
especially women’s and youth groups, are implementing appropriate
peace-building and promotion programmes under the
sponsorship of INGOs such as
LWS/WF, the Christian Health Association of Liberia (CHAL), UNICEF, the Centre
for Democratic Empowerment
(CEDE), etc. The Government is taking concrete steps
to adequately address the problem of ethnic and religious differences that
amongst some of the ethnic groups, which have not manifested themselves into
1. African Development Bank
Report, 2000, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000.
2. Azango, Bertha B.; “The New Education Law of Liberia”,
Monrovia, Liberia (1973).
Willie; Liberia: Health Sector Assessment (A Rapid Diagnostic Overview),
Background Documentation for the 1997 National Health Conference
4. Ben, Peter; School Effectiveness, UNESCO Technical
Report, Monrovia (1990).
Francis M.; Empowering Liberians After the Conflict. A Contribution to
the Liberia National Conference: Vision 2024, 23 July 1998, The Unity
Conference Centre, Virginia, Liberia (1998).
Jeanette, Holsoe, Svend, Sawyer, Amos, Tarr, Byron and Woods, John T.;
Social Institutional Profile; Management, Practices and Problems: A
Study of the Liberian Agricultural Sector, Binghamton, New York, Institute
of Development Anthropology (1984).
Student Palaver Management Handbook 2nd ed., Monrovia (1998).
No. 163 October/December (1998); “Trade or Health” published by a
partnership of the World Council of Churches and Christian
of India, New Delhi.
9. Constitution of the Republic of
Nicholas, et al.; “Contraceptive Practice and Reproductive Health Among
Liberian Adolescents”, May/June 1987,
Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Baseline Survey (1999), Monrovia.
Robert; “Why Population Matters”; An International Edition of the
Population Action International (1997).
Judith; Street and Working Children: A Guide to Planning: Development
Manual 4, published by Save the Children Fund (United Kingdom), London
Planning Association of Liberia; Data Base on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Services, Monrovia (1998).
No. 38, March 1999: “Vision for Children”, published by Tearfund,
No. 39, June 1999: “Aging and Development”, published by Tearfund,
for African Women Educationalists (FAWE); Research on Teenage Pregnancy,
Toga Mcintosh, Woods, John T.; Globalisation and Africa’s Future:
Policy Issues for Managing the Development Process, UNDP Africa Bureau,
Africa Policy Units (1999).
of Liberia; Constitution of Liberia (1985).
Nigel; World Economic Growth and the Problem of Human Settlement
Mission to Liberia; Preliminary Gross Domestic Product Estimates, Monrovia
Edward; Housing and Urban Land Markets (1997).
Human Development Report (LHDR); Governance and Human Development,
UNDP/Liberia, 1999 (1999).
Medical Board Publication, April 1999, Monrovia.
Louise, et al.; Prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in Liberia,
Patrick; Urban Land and Shelter for the Poor, London (1985).
of Agriculture; National Agriculture Statistics Year Book, Monrovia
of Education; Liberia Education Statistics, Monrovia (1998).
of Education; School Health Division, Project #LIR/97/P05/FLE, Monrovia
of Education; Statistics from the UNESCO Office (unpublished),
of Education; Teachers Payroll System, Monrovia (1998).
of Foreign Affairs; The Revised Liberian Statutes, Monrovia (1986).
of Health and Social Welfare; Annual Report, Monrovia (1983).
of Health and Social Welfare; Annual Report, Monrovia (1991).
of Health and Social Welfare; Liberia Public Health Law as Revised in
of Health and Social Welfare; Special Release, Monrovia (1999).
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Population and Housing Census
(not officially released), Monrovia.
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Demographic and Household Survey,
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Planning and Development Atlas;
prepared and published by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs in
cooperation with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische
GmH (German Agency for Technical Cooperation), Federal Republic of Germany,
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Population and Housing Census, Monrovia
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Population and Housing Census, Monrovia
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Population Estimates, Monrovia
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Second Socio-Economic Development Plan:
of Youth and Sports; A National Policy Framework for the Mobilisation of
Youths for Self-Reliance in Community Development (draft), Monrovia
Newsletter, NIDS, Vol. 1 No. 1, Monrovia (1999).
C.J., et al.; The Monrovia Community Based Disability Survey: Preliminary
Analysis Results, Monrovia (1994).
AIDS/STD Control Programme; publication July 1999 (1999).
Drug Service; Report on Health Facilities Supplied, Monrovia (1996).
for the Promotion of Good Governance, “Good Governance Analytical
Workshop Report”; Final Report of Workshop Groups, The Unity
Conference Centre, 16 February 1999, Virginia, Liberia (1999).
Reference Bureau; World Population Data Sheets, Washington, D.C.,
United States of America (1996).
of Korea; The Initiatives for Safe Schools: A Nation-wide Campaign for
Juvenile Protection, Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office, Seoul
A.; The Emergence of Autocracy in Liberia - Tragedy and Challenge,
Institute for Contemporary Studies, San Francisco, California (1992).
Amos C.; Foundations for the Twenty-First Century in Liberia:
Reconciliation, Democratic Governance and Children-Centred Development,
Ann, and Anang, Frederic; “Education and Development: Deconstructing a
Myth to Construct Reality” Twenty-First Century Africa: Towards A New
Self-Sustainable Development, New Jersey (1992).
J.T. et al.; “Good Governance and Conflict Management for Durable Peace
and Sustainable Development in Liberia”, Monrovia, Liberia
S. Byron; Inventorying Social, Economic and Physical Infrastructures
Essential to Evolving Policy Options for Reconstruction of Liberia, Monrovia
John F. C.; Housing by People - Towards Autonomy in Building Environment,
of Planning and Economic Affairs; Common Country Assessment, Monrovia
of Health and Social Welfare; A Guide for Mobilising Resources to
Operationalize a Short-Term Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS/STDS
Program in Liberia, Monrovia (1999).
of Health and Social Welfare; Situation Analysis of the National Response to
HIV/AIDS in Liberia, Monrovia (1999).
Human Development Report, New York (1999).
Human Development Report, New York, N.Y. (1997).
Programme Support Document, Monrovia (1998).
African Social Economic Indicators, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A Basic Education and Training Sector Reconstruction Program (1995-2000),
Local Schools Management Training Workshop (Technical Report), Monrovia
Rapid Assessment of Children in Five Selected Cities in Liberia
of Health and Social Welfare; (Interim) Report on Situation Analysis of
Children and Women, Monrovia (1994).
of Health and Social Welfare; National Micro-nutrient Survey, Monrovia
of Health and Social Welfare; The Liberia Health Sector Analysis,
for the Rehabilitation of the Injured and Disabled; National Needs Assessment
Survey of the Injured and Disabled, Monrovia (1997).
Bamako Initiatives, Bamako, Mali (1987).
Children in Jeopardy (1999).
Children in Jeopardy: The Challenge of Freeing Poor Nations from the
Shackles of Debt, September, New York (1999).
First Call for Children, World Declaration and Plan of Action from the World
Summit for Children: Convention on the Rights of the
Child, UNICEF, New
Reaching Children and Women of the Liberian Poor, Monrovia (1989).
The Progress of Nations, Geneva, Switzerland (1998).
The Reporting Process to the Committee on the Rights of the Child,
New York, N.Y. (1997).
The State of the World’s Children 2000, Geneva (1999).
The State of the World’s Children: Focus on Child Labour, Geneva,
Nations General Assembly; Convention on the Rights of the Child, New
York, N.Y. (1989).
of Liberia; Report on Placement Examination Results, Monrovia
Rod; “Teen Sex”, Time, Inc., 16 (August) 38-45, New York.
West African Examination Results, Monrovia, Liberia (1998).
Kimmie, L.; Address delivered at the Forum held in United Nations and published
in the Inquirer newspaper, 13 August 1999.
Ben; “Health of the Future/The Future of Health”, Twentieth
Century Africa Towards a New Vision of Self-Sustainable Development, Africa
World Press, Line, Trenton, N.J. (1992).
87. World Bank Report;
Monrovia Urban Development Project, Monrovia (1981).
[*] Annexes can be consulted in the
files of the secretariat.
 Ministry of Education,
Education Sector Review (2000): VII, pp. xi-xii.
 Ministry of Planning
and Economic Affairs (MPEA).
 Ministry of Health and
 Ministry of Planning
and Economic Affairs (MPEA). Ibid.; p. 5.
 United Nations, Liberia
United Nations System Common County Assessment, 1997.
 Ministry of Education,