Expat Impressions of Life and Rebuilding after Civil Conflict
posted by Josh Nice at Friday, May 18, 2007
Nice report but with the bulk of aid money given to the country going directly to the UN agencies (I must also add that UNMIL has a budget ten times the government's), I am sure that UNMIL and other UN agencies can build bigger prisons that meet internationally acceptable standards. Four large prisons should be more than adequate to accommodate individuals found guilty of crimes in Liberia. I don't think this would cause a fortune since the report implies that "minimum internationally acceptable standards" will be fine.The government for its part can take care of weeding out corrupt judges and make more effort to have speedy trials. I think the problem of delayed trial is more a question of the lack of resources than a deliberate attempt to infringe on human rights. The opportunity cost of building such prisons as far as the government is concerned will be building/renovating schools and/or training teachers. Having said that, I do however believe that the government should make an effort to have separate detention facilities for juvenile and women since these two groups do not constitute a large portion of those in prisons in the country. One of my buddies once remarked that post-war Liberia is a place where everything needs to be prioritized. So the trick is ranking those priorities. So I suspect that prisons do not rank higher than schools and hospitals most of which do not meet international standards either.
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Former politics reporter from USA, now working on Development projects.
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