The Liberia Health and Rights Journalist Network, formerly known as the Liberia Anti Aids Media Network, recently concluded a one-day policy dialogue engagement with stakeholders and journalists in Congo Town, Monrovia. The gathering aimed to discuss policies that will support the fight to stop the violation of the rights of key populations and marginalized groups in Liberia. According to Mr. Necus Andrews, the Chief Executive Director of the network, it is necessary for the media and stakeholders to put in place stronger policies to promote the protection of the rights of all Liberians.
The Liberia Health and Rights Journalist Network was founded in 2011 to promote accurate and non-judgmental health and human rights journalism, and to create media training awareness, campaign on health and human rights issues to reduce stigma, discrimination, and hate against people living with health complications. The network is partnering with the Liberia Network of Person with HIV and the Legal Association of Liberia.
During the panel discussion, the president of the Liberia Network of Persons Living with HIV, Wokia Cole, called on journalists and stakeholders to use words that will not discriminate against people affected by HIV. She stressed that people living with HIV are part of the Liberian society and should be treated like other human beings. She also called on the media to engage in reporting about the violation of the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS.
The Project and Program Coordinator for the Legal Association of Liberia, Joseph Thomas, also spoke at the event, stressing the need to increase awareness of the way people with different sexualities are treated. He wants gay, lesbian, crossdresser, and bisexual individuals to be treated with love and care and stated that it is not a crime for someone to live their lives the way they have chosen. He also disclosed that LGBT rights have been violated in Liberia, including their right to health, which is affecting their right to live in Liberia as provided by the Liberian Constitution.