River Gee County Electoral District #3 Representative Francis Dopoh has told the just-ended UN-Women seminar in Ganta, Nimba County that, as a lawmaker, he will work with his colleagues to ensure the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is abolished through the passage of laws that will come before that august body against FGM.
Dopoh guaranteed the gathering that he will work with his colleagues to ensure that the Domestic Violence Bill, which is before that body, is passed into law, but did not say when the bill will be passed into law.
The Domestic Violence Bill was introduced in the 53rd Legislature to address many issues affecting domestic and gender-based violence, such as physical abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological or economic abuses, dowry payment-related violence, offenses against the family, FGM, sexual abuse and harassment.
“Five counties are in the Southeast that don’t practice FGM; so this is a clear indication that to support whatsoever vote that comes before us as lawmakers against FGM, is a yes,” Rep. Dopoh assured the women to a round of applause.
Rep. Dopoh: “But let me remind you that we need to do it in a way that it will not spark violence, because the bottom line is to discourage the practice of FGM in the country.”
“Our role as lawmakers is to make laws, and when we are making these laws surrounding gender equity and equality, the intention is not to discriminate against any group, but focus on areas that affect women,” he said.
“When the Domestic Violence Law is passed by the House of Representatives, it will ensure that the rape law is strengthened to save the lives of our women and girls that are being raped and who experienced sexual and gender-based violence as it has regularly been reported,” said Rep. Dopoh.
Earlier, Rosana Shaack, River Cess County Electoral District #3 Representative and Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus, informed the UN-Women about the discussions they held with stakeholders to galvanize support for the passage of the bill, and that her colleagues at the Lower House have begun enlightening stakeholders, including female candidates who were not successful in the 2017 elections, about the bill to lead the awareness in their respective communities.
“One of the reasons we were invited to this forum is to understand how gender issues work and to make sure that policies that are made reflect gender mainstreaming and are gender responsive in terms of budgeting,” Rep. Shaack said.
Tonieh A. Tarlery Wiles, a representative from the Independent National Commission on Human Rights, said her organization has observed that most women and girls have been accused of witchcraft activities and are subjected to torture as well as persistent non-support from their male counterparts.
Wiles stressed the need to encourage more HeForShe in our various ministries and agencies.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, women working under the banner, “UN-Women,” commenced a four-day leadership seminar on Gender Equality and Women’s Right for legislators, members of the executive branch and representatives of civil society actors in Ganta, the commercial hub of Nimba County.
At the event, the participants learned the methods of practical exercises, understanding and applying concepts, and doing introspection so as to find out what type of leaders they are; to help them achieve their institutional goals as it relates to gender equality perspective.
The exercise was facilitated by Dr. Mary Okumu, Country Office Representative for Sierra Leone, and Madam Rebecca Clarke, Social Justice Activist and Consultant to the UN-Women.