Liberia has voted for the resolution for the protection of human rights defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 17 December 2015. they have also ratified other principal international documents on human rights including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). However, human rights defenders working in Liberia still face a harsh environment. They are often harassed by the government including judicial harassment, arrest and detention.
Liberia has not established a protective legal or policy framework at the national level for human rights defenders. There are no specific laws, policies, or measures to recognize and protect human rights defenders and their legitimate work. Journalists who criticize government officials or who express their political opinions are harassed, detained, charged spurious fines, called terrorists, and their work is limited by the government. However, President Sirleaf signed on to the Declaration of Table Mountain in 2012. The Declaration of Table Mountain works to advance free press and free speech across the African continent by calling for the repeal of insult, libel and criminal defamation laws.
HRDs working on corporate accountability including those who work on issues related to the palm oil industry and land grabbing are vulnerable to defamation and criminalization, physical attacks by memberspublic institutions. Their work is silenced and criminalized when they are arbitrarily arrested and detained. Moreover, with a judicial system which has been internationally criticized as corrupt and which is characterized by lack of neutrality, HRDs who are arrested are at risk of not being granted a fair trial.