The spokesperson for the Liberia National Children’s Representative Forum (LNCRF), formerly the Liberia Children’s Parliament (LCP), Satta F. Sheriff, 17, last Tuesday called on the government to prosecute those who commit crimes against children.
Addressing a press conference at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in Monrovia, Ms. Sheriff said “The LNCRF is greatly concerned about the many incidents of violence against Liberian children and called on the government and its partners to act now by ensuring speedy justice for all victims and survivors of crimes such as rape, murder and abuses that cause severe harm to children.”
She made references to several cases involving children that are yet to be tried.
“We demand justice for the 12-year old girl who was raped to death in Moulton Corner, Brewerville, and for the 16 year old boy who was sodomized by his teacher at Lango Lippaye High School in Kakata, Margibi County.
“We also demand justice for a girl who was sexually exploited by her instructor at the Cuttington University Junior College, the two boys, Alvin Moses, 4 years old and Reuben Paye, 7, and the 3-year old girl who was raped in 2015, as stated in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection Report,” she stated.
“We can no longer keep silent because cases of gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse against children are increasing every day,” Sheriff declared, adding, “those who commit crimes against children violate provisions of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child (UNCRC), the 1990 African Chapter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the 2011 Children’s Law of Liberia.”
She said Liberian children are at risk from unsafe environments and their future is endangered as a result of limited support to promote their safety.
“It is an unquestionable reality,” she said, “that many Liberian children are today prostitutes only to earn money for their living, while others risk their lives between cars to sell cold water, candy and other commodities.”
Children in Liberia are vulnerably exposed to harmful drugs, alcohol, gambling and pornography, Sheriff lamented, noting that “children are accepted as customers at video clubs, at entertainment centers that sell alcohol, and they go to beaches, ghettos and gambling dens without protection.”
She condemned child labor at many marketplaces in the country and called on those involved to stop doing so. Government must create a concrete framework that will take children from the streets and prevent them from being experimented on by harmful practices, Sheriff contended.
“The practice of child labor in Firestone, Sime Darby Plantation, Cavalla Rubber Plantation, the Golden Veroleum Concession and many other concession areas are totally wrong and must be stopped,” she said.
The child rights advocate meanwhile called on the government and its partners in progress to support the children’s section at the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection financially and materially in order for the ministry to effectively execute its mandates.