Liberia’s Foreign Minister H.E. Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has called for the need for an urgent institutional reform at the level of the Mano River Union (MRU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the African Union (AU), to drive the vision of inclusive, equitable, and right based sustainable economic growth and development across Africa.
Minister Kemayah said the African Environmental Rights Initiative could not come at an opportune time, especially as the Continent’s resilience is being tested, responding to triple crisis of COVID, the Climate and Conflict, which he said he convinced are all in line with the African Union Roadmap – “Agenda 2063, the Africa we want”.
“Let me assure you that you have a reliable ally and a champion in the Government and people of Liberia to advance the African Environmental Rights Initiative. This administration remains quite supportive, and will engage other governments across the continents while working with civil society and the private sector to consult and agree on a road map to promulgate an environmental rights instruments for Africa”, Minister Kemayah intoned.
Serving as keynote speaker at the Webinar on “Human Rights and the Environment: Evolving Practice in Africa”, held on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 virtually, Minister Kemayah stated that Liberia’s Constitution does not contain a clearly specified provision on the “right to a healthy and livable environment”, Article eleven (11) of the Liberian Constitution states that “All persons are born equally free and independent and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty”. Relying on this provision, the framers of the Act to Establish Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency interpreted the “inalienable rights of enjoying and defending life and liberty” to mean a healthy and livable environment to enjoy and defend that life and liberty. Thus, Liberia’s Environment laws provide that “Every person in Liberia has the right to a clean and healthy environment, and a duty to take all appropriate measures to protect and enhance it”.
The Dean of the Cabinet, who has been hailed in many quarters as a “great reformist” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Article 15 (c) of the Liberian Constitution mandates that “there shall be no limitation on the public right to be informed about the government and its functionaries.” Being guided by this provision, The Liberian Legislature enacted the Freedom of Information Act, which provides access to information for all residing in the country, in 2010.
Original story on Front Pages Africa