Leading Liberian Civil Society Organizations have established the National Civil Society on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Taskforce to help combat rape and other forms of gender based violence in the country.
The CSOs, which include National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Federation of Liberian Youth, Women in Peace Building Network of WANEP and the Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia, agreed to collaborate and fight menace, rape.
At a news conference Monday, September 7, 2020, Loretta A. Pope Kai, who read the group’s joint position statement, said the decision is due to the unprecedented high level of rape and other forms of SGBV against women and girls in the Liberian society.
Mrs. Pope Kai said in Liberia’s post-conflict transition, significant steps have been taken to combat sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
“The Government established a policy and legal framework that includes the Rape Law (2006), a National Gender Policy (2017), and a National Plan of Action for the Prevention and Management of Gender-Based Violence in Liberia,” Mrs. Pope Kai said.
She however said over 900 SGBV cases have been reported from March through August alone this year, stating that “the number of cases that have progressed to court remains low.”
Mrs. Pope Kai said unequal access to justice for SGBV survivors contributes to a climate of impunity for SGBV cases, undermining confidence in the formal justice sector.
She added that while Liberian women play a huge role in shaping the social, economic and political landscape of the country, it offers a conflicted picture when it comes to gender-related issues.
“Rates of SGBV remain unprecedentedly high, despite efforts by the Government and partners to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls through different laws and policies and strengthening institutional framework,” Mrs. Pope Kai said adding that they believe that “it is imperative and vital at this critical time in our country history that independent civil society organizations create a platform that will serve as a critical voice through advocating, tracking and monitoring the full implementation of the Government Road Map in Ending SGBV in Liberia.”
According to her, the National Civil Society SGBV Task Force to Combat Sexual and Gender Based Violence will serve as an independent and critical voice to ending SGBV in Liberia, building strong relationships with the media.
She said the National Civil Society Council of Liberia and collaborating CSOs commended all actors to the recent anti-rape protest and welcomed the government’s road map to ending SGBV in Liberia.