Liberia. During the year, the issue of freedom of the
press in Liberia was reactivated when, among other things,
the independent newspaper FrontPage Africa (FPA) was forced
to close. According to
Countryaah, the country's journalists' association criticized
the decision and further argued that the imprisonment of the
newspaper's editor-in-chief Rodney Sieh showed serious
deficiencies in the justice system. After several months in
the central prison in the capital Monrovia, Sieh was
released in mid-November.
At the beginning of the year, the country's former
president Charles Taylor appealed his verdict at the
International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The year
before, the court sentenced Taylor to 50 years in prison for
war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with
the civil war in neighboring Sierra Leone in 1991–2001.
During the spring, a review was made of the government's
trade relations, which specifically criticized the
agreements the government has concluded with companies that
exploit natural resources in the country. According to the
audit, there is, among other things, extensive corruption
between the government and the companies.
In March, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf conducted a
government reform that received criticism from several
directions. The idea of the new government was to replace
ministers accused of corruption. Only one minister was
relocated at the same time as significantly more employees
on lower positions within the government ministry were
forced to leave their missions. During the year, the
president received widespread criticism for not working hard
enough against corruption within her own ranks.
At the same time as the government was accused of
widespread corruption and lack of leadership at home,
Liberia was named by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation as the
country that has developed the most in the field of good
leadership and governance over the past decade. According to
The 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), which
measures, among other things, the degree of security and
human development, Liberia was the most developed country in
Africa in the area since 2000. Despite measured progress,
Liberia remains low in the foundation's ranking compared to
other African countries.
In August, areas around Liberia's capital Monrovia were
shaken by a heavy flood, which was due to an unusually high
rise in tidal levels. Several homes were swept away by the
tidal wave and hundreds of people became homeless. According
to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the
problem is: linked to increased soil erosion affected by
climate change, unregulated sand extraction and
deforestation of mangrove forests near the coast.
Later in the fall, four people were arrested for
smuggling large quantities of marijuana in the town of Bo
Waterside near the border with neighboring Sierra Leone. One
of the arrested was the chief executive of the president's
coroner, and the fact that the drugs were transported in a
company car attracted much attention in the country's media.
According to the United Nations Crime and Drugs Agency
(UNODC), drug smuggling is a growing problem in Liberia.