Last Updated: November 2005
Summary and Analysis
Our research revealed nothing that spoke to Liberia's implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child with regard to child protective proceedings. Liberia ratified the CRC on June 4, 1993 and has filed regular reports detailing its implementation of the agreement's provisions. Liberia is also a party to the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Liberia has developed (or is in the process of developing) a National Plan of Action for Children that is to be implemented sometime between 2000 and 2015. Our research did not uncover any details of this plan. The Committee on the Rights of the Child noted in July of 2004 that civil war in Liberia has “seriously impaired the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child ….” As such, the country's implementation process “faces many serious problems and challenges.” In August 2003, a comprehensive peace agreement ended fourteen years of civil war. The conclusion of the war brought about the end of the presidency of Charles Taylor. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) remains in the process of ensuring the continuation of peace. At that time, the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) began serving as Liberia's governing body.
Though Liberian courts have the authority to issue protective orders in the interests of a child, our research produced nothing to suggest that Liberian children are afforded the right to be heard in those proceedings. Moreover, research suggested that, in practice, protective orders are uncommon. The State Party Report's (SPR) discussion of CRC Article 19 compliance noted that “most cases [of alleged abuse and neglect] are taken out of court to be handled instead by the family.” In its discussion of Article 9 compliance, the SPR stated that “[i]t is not a practice in [Liberia] to separate a child from his/her parents.” However, individuals charged with the care of a child may be prosecuted if they are responsible for abuse or neglect. Presumably, protective orders may be issued in conjunction with criminal proceedings, but our research uncovered nothing to suggest that this is a common occurrence.
Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)
Liberian Codes Revised, Vol. III
Title 9: Domestic Relations Law
Chapter 5. Support of Dependents
Sub § 5.16. Orders of protection.
Where the interests of a child are involved, the court may make an order of protection in assistance or as a condition of any other made under this chapter, including the issuance of a temporary order of protection upon the filing of a petition, for good cause shown therein. The order of protection may set forth reasonable conditions of behavior to be observed for a specified time by the petitioner or respondent of both. Such an order may require either party to do the following:
To stay away from the child's home, the other parent, or the child;
To permit a parent to visit the child at stated periods;
To abstain from offensive conduct against the child or against the other parent or against any other person to whom custody of the child is awarded;
To give proper attention to the care of the child's home;
To refrain from acts of commission of omission that tend to make the child's home not a proper place for the child. The court may also award custody of the child, during the term of the order of protection to either parent or to an appropriate relative. Nothing in this section gives the court the power to place or board out any child or to commie the chills to an institution or agency. In making orders of protection, discipline and guardianship of the child, his religious faith shall be preserved and protected.
Sub § 5.17. Warrants of arrest on failure to obey orders.
If the court is satisfied by competent proof that a respondent has failed to obey a lawful order under this chapter, it may, without notice, issue a warrant directing that the respondent be arrested and brought before the court for a hearing thereon. … 
Sub. § 5.18. Court's powers on failure to obey order.
If a respondent is brought before the court for failure to obey any lawful order issued under this chapter and if, after hearing, the court is satisfied by competent proof that the respondent has willfully failed to obey any such order, the court may direct the following corrective measures:
Punish him for a civil contempt in accordance with the provision of 44.73 of the Civil Procedure Law; or
Place the respondent on probation under such conditions as the court may determine in accordance with the probation provision of the Criminal Procedure Law; or
Proceed under section 5.14 concerning bonds; or
Issue an order of sequestration under section 5.41.
Liberian Penal Code
Article on Endangering Welfare of Children
A parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of a child under eighteen commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he knowingly endangers the child welfare by violating a legal duty of care, protection or support as specified in section 11.11 (d) of the judicial law.
Local Contact Information
Despite repeated efforts, we were unable to find a contact person in Liberia.
Additional Resources/Research Path
 OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/24.9/49 (1990), available http://www.africaninstitute.org/eng/afSystem/child/afcharter.php.
 Liberian Codes Revised, Vol. III: Title 9, Sub. § 5.16 (1998).
 Id. at 23.
 Liberian Penal Code, Article on Endangering Welfare of Children Sec. 16.4, quoted in CRC/C/28/Add.21/27 (September 22, 2003).
 Liberian Codes Revised, supra note 6 at Sub. § 5.16.
 Id. at Sub. § 5.17.
 Id. at Sub. § 5.18.
 Liberian Penal Code, Article on Endangering Welfare of Children Sec. 16.4, supra note 8 at 27.
Representing Children Worldwide | Copyright 2005 Yale Law School |All Rights Reserved