Samuel Kofi Woods

Liberian journalist, human rights activist, and politician

Samuel Kofi Woods is a Liberian journalist, academic, activist, and politician. Woods began his activism as the student president of his university and a leader of the national student organization in 1986. After the outbreak of the civil war in 1989, Woods fled to Ghana but returned to Liberia in 1991 to launch the country’s most prominent human rights organization, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. In the midst of the war, he wrote and distributed reports of human rights violations. He also established a radio program that focused on publicizing arrests and extrajudicial executions and educating citizens about their rights. In 1994, he founded the Forefront Organization to document the human rights abuses of the Second Liberian Civil War. In 1998, Woods was threatened with sedition for exposing forced child labor in the country. Woods, his family, and his staff faced threats from government authorities; many of his colleagues were murdered; and he was forced into hiding and exile on multiple occasions. After the civil war, Woods served as the Liberian minister of labor and the minister of public works.

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