The Government of Liberia in collaboration with key stakeholders including the One UN Family and Civil Society Organizations has convened a two-day Anti- Rape conference in Liberia in an effort to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) against women and girls.
The conference, presided over by President George M. Weah in Monrovia, brought together women groups, local as well as international partners to discuss how the government can put an end to rape/ SGBV and Harmful Practices which are key issues being tackled by the Spotlight Initiative led by the Resident Coordinator’s Office and the technical leadership of UN Women.
The conference is held under the theme: “A National Call To Action: Inclusive Involvement to Fight Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia,” is expected to end on September 10, 2020.
The conference which is one of the demands from the just ended three days protest against rape and SGBV in the country came as a result of the government’s concern about the unprecedented surge of rape in recent times.
“This urgent call to action is in response to an alarming increase in rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in recent times, especially during a time when we are at war with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic,” President Weah stated.
According to the “Feminist-in-Chief,” the country is witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.
The Roadmap to enhancing the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is aimed at rallying all stakeholders to discuss openly and contribute collectively to determine the best practices and procedures that would enable them bring an end to rape and other forms of SGBVs in Liberia.
“At the end of this Conference these proposals will be taken into account and served as a validation by the Government of Liberia & Partners’ Roadmap on ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence 2020-2022,” President weah expressed.
According to the President, following the review of this Roadmap over these next two days deliberations, the government plans to achieve effective results by adopting new approaches to addressing the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence prevention process across all sectors, which will be characterized by adequately-funded prevention and response mechanisms.
Also speaking at the opening of the conference, the head of the One UN Ambassador, Kingsley Amaning, said rape is a worldwide issue and it is one thing the UN is struggling to eradicate.
Presenting the Roadmap, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Williametta Saydee-Tarr said the Ministry’s expectation is that at the end of this Conference, the Roadmap will be fully inclusive of every possible thoughts that will help fight the menace in the Liberian society.
Also making remarks on behalf of the cooperative partners, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wettergvist said the cooperative partners are standing with the Government of Liberia in fighting Rape and other forms of SGBV. “We will provide the necessary support with a feminist approach,” she assured.
It can be recalled that dozens of protesters on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, gathered in Montserrado, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa and Bong with a single petition calling on the Government of Liberia to strengthen the justice system that will allow rape survivors get justice as a means of putting to end the harmful act meted against women, girls, and boys.