The leadership of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL), in collaboration with United Nations (UN) Women, has called for protection of women and girls in the country.
AFELL president, Attorney Vivian Neal, said that to protect the rights of women and girls, peace-building in line with the rule of law remain key in such endeavor.
Atty. Neal, who spoke in Gbarnga, Bong County over the weekend during a brief opening ceremony during a two-day Gender Responsive Peace-building and Rule of Law Project, said that this will ensure the growth and development of the country.
The training, held in collaboration with the National Peace Hut Women of Liberia in the county, seeks to enhance the capacities of women and public confidence in the different justice and security institutions in the country.
According to Atty. Neal, the project will sustainably improve access to justice, security and protection services, especially for women and girls, who will closely aligned with the relevant national development goals and strategies as well as the priorities spelt out in the peace-building plan, and has been designed with a view to ensuring sustainability, and linking activities to policy development.
”As part of the strategy, the project supports the Liberian Women Peace Hut to be registered as a civil society organization to promote the adoption of gender responsive national legal aid legislation, Atty. Neal said.
She added “the project provides gender training for legal aid service providers, and rights-based organizations to address capacity gaps in the rule of Law, security and justice sectors. It also supports the capacities of relevant justice sector institutions for case management, data collection monitoring system, research and feedback mechanisms on gender responsiveness of justice institutions.”
Peace Hut is where women meet to discuss matters about things that are affecting them individually or collectively in the communities, including gender-based violence that sometimes threatened their peace and stability, family matters, and petite disagreement arising between husband and wife.
The Peace Hut idea provides opportunity for mediation of civil matters affecting target beneficiaries since it was conceived on February 27, 2006, when the first “Peace Hut,” as an infrastructure was constructed in 2011, in Henry Town, Gbarpolu County with about 25 of such a project in the 15 counties with over 440 cases being addressed so far.
UN Women Deputy Representative, Sangeeta Rana Thapa, expressed gratitude to the leadership of AFELL for the level of work carried out, “because her organization is currently constructing four new ‘Peace Huts’ in Lofa, Maryland, Nimba and Grand Cape Mount counties with two under rehabilitation in Lofa and Nimba counties.
Madam Thapa said that Liberia’s community peace huts are considered as an example of an innovative mechanism, which is more about supporting and strengthening community dynamics, and women’s role in fostering dialogue, mediation, development and seeking justice.
She assured AFELL of her organization’s support; “although the UN Women expect the ‘Peace Hut’ to operate on its own and sustain itself financially.