Liberia: Chief Justice Yuoh ‘Waging War’ Against Injustices Against Females

….Launches new Project partnership with AFELL & CFJ 

Chief Justice Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh has launched a project that is intended to fight against injustices and discrimination against women and girls in the country.  

The project, ‘Waging Justice for Women Fellowship Project' aims to fight injustice against women through strategic litigation to reform discriminatory laws and increase accountability for gender-based abuse.

The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) in collaboration with Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) will implement the project. 

The Chief Justice, who is fully aware of the roles of AFELL in Liberia, commended the feminist organization and partner for the initiative and for always supporting women and girls in Liberia.

“I want to encourage you to wage a good and fearless war against injustices and discrimination that keep women down,” Yuoh said. “Today’s women were girls yesterday and today’s men were boys yesterday. This is a cycle. They are part of this circle of life. The fight goes on and on. I thank the Clooney Foundation for Justice for launching this project through AFELL.”

Giving an overview of the project, Atty. Christine Tenneh Dono, an AFELL Fellow of the Clooney Foundation for Justice, said few global programs have worked to identify laws and policies that are holding women back and to support women’s ability to claim their rights through the courts. 

“Our Waging Justice for Women initiative aims to change this. Using data that we gather, and working hand in hand with women-led local organizations, our team uses legal avenues to overturn unfair laws, help victims get redress and bring perpetrators to justice. We are also establishing women-for-women legal aid clinics to provide free legal support for women, secure legal remedies and bring about systemic change,” Dono added.

The initiative is led by Amal Clooney, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other specialist organizations.

Also speaking at the launching ceremony, the President of AFELL, Atty. Philomena Williams, expressed her gratitude to the Clooney Foundation for Justice for including Liberia amongst eight African countries, in its new effort to empower the next generation of feminist lawyers to advance the rights of women and girls in their communities. 

“We are proud that AFELL was recognized and accepted as one of ten organizations to partner with the CFJ. We congratulate Atty. Christine Dono, for a successful recruitment as the CFJ fellow for the program. CFJ can be assured of AFELL’s expertise for a successful outcome of the project,” she said.

“In Liberia, women and girls are vulnerable to all forms of violence, physical, psychological, and economic violence,” the AFELL boss further said. 

“The program will fight injustices against women in Liberia, including the harmful practices of female genital mutilation (FGM), gender-based violence (GBV), Sexual exploitation, trafficking, rape, early marriages, gender inequality and gender insensitive laws, these unwarranted injustices affect the health of women, cause life-long traumatic physical and psychological harm, and deny women equal opportunities, indeed this program will afford survivors access to justice.”

“Our Goal is to provide women and children in Liberia Access to Justice. The objective is to assist the Government’s efforts to improve Liberia’s Human Rights Report. The initial implementation of the project took us to the Monrovia Central Prison, where female inmates including juvenile detainees alleged arbitrary arrests and detention and complained of bed bugs and other harsh life-threatening prison conditions consistent with the 2022 Human Rights Report on Liberia. AFELL has spoken to the Justice Minister, Cllr Frank Musah Dean, who thankfully has promised to fumigate the prison and, appreciatively, others have made pledges to purchase mattresses,” Atty. Williams said.

The launching ceremony was graced by officials of government, members of AFELL, partners, diplomatic community and civil society organizations, among others.

The project which was launched the project August 15, is an

initiative of Clooney Foundation for Justice.