Human Rights Watch urges Weah to fight graft

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The Human Rights Watch has urged new Liberian President George Weah to prioritize fighting corruption and strengthening rule of law in his tenure.

In an open letter published on Monday, the rights group also asked Weah to revisit past injustices and ensure perpetrators are punished.

“We write today to urge you to put justice, accountability, and strengthening rule of law institutions at the very top of your agenda. Specifically, we encourage you to revisit the issue of justice for past crimes committed during Liberia’s civil wars, notably by invigorating plans for trials of civil wars-era crimes in order to bring justice to the victims, punish the perpetrators, and strengthen respect for the rule of law,” the letter read in part.

51-year-old Weah won the Liberian presidential election in the second round with 62 per cent, beating off competition from former vice president Joseph Boakai.

Weah was officially inaugurated into office on January 22, taking over from Africa’s first elected female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Corruption was a key mention during the former football star’s inaugural speech in Monrovia, where he made a promise to the Liberian people that he would end the vice.

“I…believe that the overwhelming mandate I received from the Liberian people is a mandate to end corruption in public service. I promise to deliver on this mandate,” he said.

His predecessor was criticized for not cracking down on graft during her 12-year tenure.

HRW pledged to support Weah in the quest for justice for aggrieved persons over the years.

“We respectfully urge your government to take meaningful steps to deliver justice to victims who have suffered and waited for far too long. Human Rights Watch stands ready to support this important endeavor,” it said.

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