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With less than one month to the conduct of Liberia’s presidential and representative elections, a human rights group, Liberia Initiative for the Promotion of Rights, Identity, Diversity and Equality (LIPRIDE) has called on Liberians home and abroad to reject acts that tend to harbor violence and eventually jeopardize the peaceful co-existence of citizens of the country.

LIPRIDE is an 18 member human rights coalition established to advocate for the rights of key population in the AIDS response, by ensuring that the constitutional rights of all are protected under the laws without any form of discrimination.
According to a statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend, the group is advocating for free space for all to live irrespective of race, ethnic background, cultural belief, religious affiliation, gender Identity, or sexual orientation in helping to maintain the peace of the country.
The release said the coalition has observed unprecedented and unhealthy messages both on social and mainstream media against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity from major state actors in Liberia.
LIPRIDE said one of such unprecedented and unhealthy messages was recently instigated by the President Protempore of the Liberian Senate, Senator Armah Zolu Jallah of Gbapolu County, when he spoke during the 18th graduation ceremony of the Triumph Church Mission School at the Unity Conference center in Montserrado County.
Serving as guest Speaker, Senator Jallah left the assigned Topic to say there were homosexuals and Lesbians in the country who are increasing the acts of immorality exclusively for financial gains.
He further compared homosexuality to the acts of army robbery. LIPRIDE said it considers the Senator’s statement as unacceptable to the sexuality of persons.
Senator Jallah told the graduates that they are graduating at the time when our society has fundamentally changed; homosexuals and lesbians are using the dollars to ruin the sanity of young people while armed robbers take the lives of people. He said prostitution has increased even openly while both the young and the old people are indecently dressed the same way exposing their bodies. We now live in a society where money dictates the course. The morality of many has declined.
LIPRIDE believes the statement attributed to this high profile official of the Liberian government is far from his constitutional duties as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which say universal recognition of basic Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. LIPRIDE said all fundamental human rights are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights must be respected.
Instead of Senator profiling idea how the hardship in the country can be addressed, LIPRIDE said he decided to incite violence against a particular group of people based on perception.
A release quote LIPRIDE as saying such discriminatory and hate message is not going to put food on the tables of the majority citizens of the country looking for their daily bread.
LIPRIDE said the Senate Pro-temp with an annual budget of nearly US$1 million should be finding holistic solution how these poverty- stricken people can be helped rather than attacking sexuality.
The group further indicated that the constitution of Liberia provides for religious freedom without allowing the infliction of harm on other people and like Joe Kennedy and Bobby Scott argued in their Act “do no harm” that “religious freedom or cultural claims should never be used as a guide for unfair and unjust treatment that undercuts other people’s fundamental rights”, LIPRIDE said.
“In order to guarantee liberty for every citizen our government must ensure that one’s religious freedom or cultural beliefs does not infringe on the right of another nor do them harm.”
LIPRIDE said the Senator’s statement has the propensity to reinforce the culture of stigma and discrimination against people who are needed in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“We condemn the statement attributed to Senator Armah Zulu Jallah because it is a false insulation only intended to undermine the country’s national response to HIV and AIDS and effort to create space for sexual minorities since omission is also a human rights violation.”
“We wish to remind those in authority that if new HIV infection must be tackled in Liberia, policymakers must desist from making discriminatory statements and mobilize resources to put Liberia on par with other countries in ending AIDS by 2030,” the group maintained in the release.

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