WASHINGTON: The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) has become the latest group to welcome the wave of sanctions being imposed on officials of the Liberian government in recent days.
ALJA has issued a statement, expressing its hope that the recent wave of US sanctions imposed on key officials of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) -led government will serve as a wake-up call for Liberians to begin holding public officials accountable for corruption and other forms of malpractices in government.
ALJA is of the conviction that the sanctions, being imposed against Liberian government officials under the framework of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, highlight the pervasiveness of corruption and human rights abuses in the country, and that it was time for government to take punitive actions against officials targeted by these sanctions as a means of deterring the continuation of such egregious acts in the society.
ALJA asserts that massive corruption under the Liberian government has had detrimental effects on Liberia and has hindered economic growth and development, exacerbated poverty, compromised the quality of education, hindered the delivery of basic social services, and has left a crippling impact on the healthcare system, further straining a country already scarred by years of civil war.
The organization commends the US Government for taking significant steps in freezing the assets of the sanctioned officials.
Additionally, ALJA calls upon the US government to consider confiscating these frozen assets and redirect them towards human capacity development and infrastructural projects in Liberia.
The sanctions, enacted under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, are seen by ALJA as shedding light on the pervasive issues of corruption and human rights abuses within the country as well as a demonstration of the commitment of the United States Government to end the culture of impunity in Liberia and holding corrupt government officials accountable.
At the same time, ALJA is calling on the incoming government headed by Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai to declare corruption as a public enemy and provide integrity institutions in the country with the resources needed to effectively fight corruption and other malpractices in government with the utmost efficiency as a means of ensuring the judicious use of public resources for the benefit of the people.
Meanwhile, ALJA has condemned, in the strongest term, the recent inhumane treatment of a lady in the commercial district of Paynesville Red-light and calls on the Liberian government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas is a 501 (C) organization founded by former Liberian journalists based in the United States in 1998 and was revived in 2014 after a period of dormancy. ALJA advocates for good governance, rule of law, democracy, freedom of speech and of the press and also provides capacity building for practicing journalists and media institutions in Liberia.