Liberia-WTVNEWS: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament has come under immensed criticism for what is termed as a diluted role in regional governance.
A conglomerate of Liberian based Civil Society Organizations including NAYMOTE-Liberia, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, Integrity Watch Liberia, IREDD Accountability Lab Liberia and the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, in a joint press statement frowned on the Parliament inability to take practical steps in protecting citizens of the Fifteen (15) members states.
The CSOS statement comes at the time where ECOWAS is expected begin its Ordinary session in Monrovia, Liberia.
“We believe it is high time the ECOWAS Parliament became proactive and robust in engaging with the economic and political challenges of the region and delivering the much-needed inclusive and sustainable reforms needed to advance democracy, regional integration, and prosperity in the region”, the release noted.
The CSO groups expressed disappointment at the many challenges countries under the bounds of ECOWAS continue to confront, arguing that it has been highly influenced and masterminded by the Union leaders inability to attend and meet their required responsibilities.
The Civil Society Groups named the increasing wave of Political instability and coup d’etat in Guinea and Mali; declining trust in democracy with leaders in the region to meet up to the challenges of unemployment, rising cost of living, insecurity, human rights violations as some of the issues of concern that the Parliament is yet to address.
The CSOS also urged the ECOWAS Parliament to ensure practical actions are taken against corruption, rape and other sexual and gender-based offences.eliminating trade barriers of member states, reducing and ending unemployment.
However, the conglomerate Group also called for efforts toward ending human trafficking, insecurity, drugs abuse, money laundering and illicit financial flows, and imposing sanctions against leaders who undermine constitutional democracy and abuse human rights in their countries.
Meanwhile, the Civil Society Groups frowned on the posture of the Liberian Delegation to the ECOWAS for it’s inability to properly inform Citizens’on issues currently taking place at the Parliament. “The delegation makes no efforts at engaging with the public on their work at the Parliament — laws and policies adopted and their ramifications for member states and if these laws are domesticated in-country. To date the Liberian delegation over the years have failed to ‘inform and sensitize the population on issues of integration”.
The Civil Society Organizations also encouraged the body to engage more with civil society and create greater visibility for its work, at regional and national levels.