The Liberia Feminist Forum (LFF), in collaboration with #WeAreUnprotected Campaign, women’s rights organizations, and allies of diverse social movements have commended the House of Representatives for the passage of the Domestic Violence (DV) Bill.
“We recognize your exercise of accountability to the citizens of Liberia and most importantly, the acknowledgment of women’s rights as a fundamental right and protection from domestic violence,” the women’s rights organizations said in a statement issued yesterday in Monrovia.
According to the release, the groups said the passage also highlights the fact that the government is responding to the advocacy efforts of its citizens affected by a crisis of rights violations in private and public spaces.
“Against the background of being on the right side of history and being accountable to the people of Liberia, we are hopeful that the House of Senate will fully concur with the House’s Bill for the full passage for the protection and fulfillment of the rights of women, young people, children and marginalized groups to be free from domestic violence in Liberia,” the release indicated.
The statement continued: “We celebrate and recognize the collective work, and years of mobilizing and activism by Liberian women rights organizations, feminist and social movements, other civil society and community based organizations, student activists, survivors, the media, especially the Female Journalist Association of Liberia and marginalized persons affected by the scourge of domestic violence across Liberia.”
The statement, which is issued by several organizations, including Medica Liberia, ActionAid Liberia, Community Healthcare Initiative, Paramount Young Women Initiative, Aiding Disadvantage Women and Girls, Kids’ Educational Engagement Project and Liberian Women Empowerment Network said The Bill is a culmination of this struggle that we must win. Liberia must win.
According to the statement, the Domestic Violence Bill is a critical legal instrument that will ensure women, young people, children and marginalized persons are protected from sexual, physical, economic, verbal and psychological abuse and all other forms of violence that affect their health, wellbeing, integrity and rights.
“The Domestic Violence Bill will provide survivors and their families with mechanisms for redress, reintegration, and psychosocial support. The Bill will also accord the Liberian Government an opportunity to strengthen the justice system to uphold the dignity of survivors and ensure that justice can be accessed and delivered in a responsive, effective and timely manner,” the statement said.
According to them, the finalization of the Domestic Violence Bill will highlight the Liberian Government adherence and obligation to associate with regional and continental instruments it has ratified.
“We would finally like to register that whilst the Bill aims to address all forms of the violence, the exclusion of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) limits its ability to comprehensively address the impact of FGM on bodily integrity, sexual and reproductive rights and education of women and girls that are subjected to this practice in majority of counties in Liberia,” the release said.
The groups added that the exclusion of FGM in the bill reduces the government’s ability to act on Articles 11 and 20 of the Liberian Constitution.. It reduces our obligation to the Maputo Protocol and other international instruments. “We look forward to Government’s engagement and finalization of an anti-FGM law, through the National Legislature,” it said.