Conditions in Gbarnga jail including reports of killings, torture and rape (1990-1997) [LBR30305.E]

None of the sources consulted by the Research Directorate mentioned Gbarnga jail between 1989 and late 1997. However, in March 1998 the Catholic Peace and Justice Commission (JPC), following a tour of Gbarnga prison, described conditions in Liberian prisons as "deplorable" and "in need of radical improvement if the lives of those being held in those facilities are to be saved" (DPA 4 Mar. 1998). The report of the JPC drew attention to the lack of beds, bedding, toilets and bathing facilities and made reference to "emaciated" prisoners complaining of a lack of medical care and food. Following the release of this report, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Liberian Ministry of Justice conducted a tour of the same prison. An official from the Ministry of Justice also stated that the prison was in "deplorable" condition, but maintained that the eleven prisoners being held were not starving (Asia Intelligence Wire 24 Mar. 1998). Country Reports 1997 states that in December 1997 four persons in the "(Gbarnga) Bong county detention facility disappeared" (1998, 184) and that two prisoners had died in this prison in December 1997 either from starvation (ibid., 185) or "apparently from harsh conditions" (DPA 4 Mar. 1998).

No information on murder, torture, or rape specific to the Gbarnga prison could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. For general information on Liberia's prisons please see Country Reports 1989-1997.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Asia Intelligence Wire. 24 March 1998. "Liberian Daily News Bulletin." (NEXIS)

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997. 1998. United States Department of State. Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 4 March 1998. "Rights Group Wants Liberian Prisons Radically Improved." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International. 20 September 1995. Liberia: A New Peace Agreement - An Opportunity to Introduce Human Rights Protection. (AI Index: AFR 34/01/95). London: Amnesty International.

Amnesty International. 1989-1997. Amnesty International Report 1989-1997. New York: Amnesty International USA.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989 -1996. 1990-1997. United States Department of State. Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 1988-1998. Human Rights Watch World Report 1989-1997. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Keesing's Record of World Events [Cambridge]. 1989 to present.

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (LCHR). 1989-1997. Critique: Review of the Department of State's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1989-1997. New York: LCHR.

Resource Centre. Liberia country file. 1989-1997.

_____. Liberia: Amnesty International country file. 1989-1997.

World Encyclopedia of Police Forces and Penal Systems. 1989. Edited by George Thomas Kurian. New York: Facts on File Publications.

Electronic sources: IRB Databases, LEXIS/NEXIS, Internet, REFWORLD, World News Connection (WNC).