Can the Liberian government protect citizen rights in the dark?

    by Ali Kaba, Sustainable Development Institute
    Tuesday, 5 July 2016 10:11 BST

Fedora, 11, watches as a rally for incumbent Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf takes place in a field near her home in the capital Monrovia, November 6, 2011. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Liberia's Land Rights Act would allow millions of citizens to gain strong rights to land they have lived and worked on all their lives But the law has not moved through the legislature two years after it was submitted - and could soon disappear into limbo as the country heads towards elections. 

Ali Kaba, senior researcher at the Sustainable Development Institute, a Liberian NGO, writes that Liberia's opaque legislative system means the public do not know how close it is to passing, and what changes have been made.  

"Only in Liberia can staunch advocates campaign for a law that may have been rewritten to undermine rather than support what we have been working on for years," says Kaba. "The wrong law, one that allows private ownership to run rampant over community claims as they have in the past, could eliminate the entire principle of customary land rights in Liberia."

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