Promises to submit new Bill to 54th Legislature
Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) said it is disappointed that women and girls are still being subjected to inhumane and gruesome treatment in the name of tradition or culture in the country.
WOSI executive director Mariam G. Deah said while the organization respects cultural practices, members feel that components of culture that dehumanize women and girls must be addressed in accordance with international and regional instruments that Liberia is a signatory to.
She said “WOSI considers some portions of traditional practices as negative especially the practice of the female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision, and child marriage.”
In the Domestic Violence Act that was passed by both houses, the component on FGM, section 16.21, was politically manipulated and willfully deleted by members of the Senate and the House, she said.
Deah explained that such an act on the part of the Legislature violates all of the international instruments that promote and protect women and girls’ rights that Liberia is a signatory to, such as ECOWAS, the AU Protocol and the UN Chapter on Human Rights, which prohibits torture, discrimination and all forms of violence against women and girls.
Deah said it also contravenes President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s September 27, 2015 statement at the Women’s Global Conference held at the UN General Assembly, where she said before her tenure expired, she would endeavor to ensure that a Domestic Violence Bill is passed into law; FGM is banned; and women have equal participation in government/politics.
Contrary to the President’s promise, women and girls are still being subjected to inhumane cultural practices in Liberia, with special reference to Margibi County, Deah said.
The organization’s current project, titled “Reinforcing national efforts for an anti-FGM law in the country,” is focused on monitoring the incidences of FGM in Margibi and surrounding counties.
Meanwhile, the National Working Group Against FGM has drafted an exclusive Bill on the practice (FGM) that will be submitted to the 54th Legislature.
WOSI lauded Equality Now with support from the Human Dignity Foundation for the level of support the organization has received so far in the fight against FGM in Liberia.
Deah called on authorities at the Ministry of Internal Affairs to ensure that all ‘groves’ are monitored to ensure that young girls and women are not initiated into the inhumane practice of FGM.
WOSI concluded by recognizing some efforts of the government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in the fight for human rights.