Before the civil war, welfare activities carried out by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare; by US medical, economic, and agricultural missions (concentrated in AID); and by Christian missions. The Liberian Red Cross was active in child care and welfare, as were the Antoinette Tubman Welfare Foundation and the Catherine Mills Rehabilitation Center. In 1976, the National Social Security and Welfare Corp. was established to administer pensions, sickness benefits, worker's compensation, and welfare funds. However, social services were severely disrupted by Liberia's seven-year civil war, and information on the current state of social programs is unavailable.
Women and children were not spared by the civil war. Massacres of civilians were carried out by all major fighting factions. It has also been estimated that about 10% of combatants were young children under the age of 15. Many children were wounded, killed, orphaned, or abandoned.
Women participate in politics, and several women hold senior positions in government. Rural women remain largely subordinate in both public and private life. Women married under civil law have inheritance and property rights, but women married under tribal laws are considered property of their husbands. Domestic violence is widespread, and abused women have no recourse. Female genital mutilation is practiced by some ethnic groups.
Ethnic discrimination is explicitly prohibited by law. Despite this provision, citizenship is legally available only to blacks. Only citizens can own land, and non-citizens are restricted from owning certain types of businesses. The government had a poor human rights record, which includes disappearances, and beatings and torture by security forces.