25 million women desire family planning

About 225 million women globally lack access to modern family planning, and therefore are unable to choose whether or when to have children, according to the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA.


In a statement issued in observance of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, 8 March, which coincided with the climax of a two International Women’s Colloquium here, UNFPA Executive Director based in New York, Dr. BabatundeOsotimehin, noted that every year tens of thousands of girls are forced into child marriage, and nearly one third of these before the age of 15, while one woman in three experiences gender-based violence in her lifetime, and some 200 million women and girls have endured female genital mutilation, among other abuses.
He emphasized that the global community has an obligation to advance the new agenda for sustainable development, which enshrines gender equality as one of its goals, adding that the ability of women and girls to exercise their basic human rights, including their right to sexual and reproductive health, is a prerequisite for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Studies have demonstrated clearly that family planning is the best investment countries can make for human development”, he said and stressed that ensuring universal access to voluntary family planning means putting the poorest, most marginalized and excluded women and girls at the forefront of global efforts—particularly those in conflict and fragile settings.
Dr. Osotimehin: “Women and girls who can make choices and control their reproductive lives are better able to get quality education, find decent work, and make free and informed decisions in all spheres of life.
Their families and societies are better off financially. Their children, if they choose to have them, are healthier and better educated, helping break the spiral of poverty that traps billions and triggering a cycle of prosperity that carries over into future generations.”
He pledged that UNFPA is fully committed to ensuring the rights of women and girls to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, saying “On this International Women’s Day, we urge the global community to join us. Together, we can make a giant leap forward that saves lives, empowers women and girls, advances gender equality and ensures a more prosperous and sustainable future for all of us.”
Meanwhile, the UNFPA Executive Director has described gender equality as a human right, underscoring that women are entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and fear, without discrimination. He said gender equality is also vital to sustainable development, peace and security, not just a women’s issue, but an issue for all of humanity.
“Sadly, despite some progress, the world still has a long way to go to achieve full gender equality”, he lamented.

NGO sues Liberian Giv’t for US200m at ECOWAS Court

A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Concerned Youth of Ganta for Reconstruction and Development, and a Liberian citizen have sued the Republic of Liberia at the ECOWAS Court of Justice, praying it for an order directing Liberia government to pay $200 million as compensation to over 500 families of Ganta community killed by the Liberian armed forces over land dispute.


The Organisation and Mr. Mamadee F. Donzo also asked the ECOWAS Court in Abuja for “a declaration that the killing, violent attacks, Intimidation, arrest and incarceration of unarmed Indigenous People of Ganta by the Liberian Security Force was unlawful and a crime against humanity.”

The plaintiffs also urged the court to hold that the continued banishment of the heads of families of Indigenous People of Ganta from having access to their ancestral home/lands and building is in gross violation of the rights of the Indigenous People of Ganta to own property.
They also prayed the court for an order holding the Liberian Government responsible for these Human Rights Violations, and also an order directing the Liberian Government to fully implement the Recommendations of the Presidential Adhoc Committee set up in 2006 by the President of Liberia, Her Excellency Madam Allen Johnson Sirleaf, which recommendation has been partly implemented and abandoned half way by the Liberian Government.

“A perpetual order of injunction restraining the Liberian Government, her security agents, privies, proxies from arresting, intimidating, killing, maiming or victimizing the Plaintiff’s and the heads of families of citizens of Ganta District, or brutalizing them in any manner, or further alienating any portion of their ancestral inheritance, Lands”.
Apart from the $200m monetary compensation, the plaintiffs are also seeking for restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition of the illegal killings.

The suit was filed by IfeanyiEjiofor for the Concern Youth of the Ganta for Reconstruction and Development and Mr. MamadeeDonzo, the leader of Ganta, on behalf of over 500 displaced and victimized families, heads of Indigenous People of Ganta in Nimba County, Liberia.

The suit was brought in pursuance to the relevant provisions on rights violations in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS) Revised Treaty dated 24th July 1993; African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced persons in African; and other related Human Rights Treaties.

According to document in court, Ganta is one of the seven different locations (settlements) that make up Nimba County in Liberia, hugely bedevilled and devastated by the Liberian civil war which led to the fall of the district in 2003.

Following the occupation of the Ganta District and its fall to the Liberian military forces, the original inhabitants of the Ganta District, abandoned their homes, properties and lands and fled for their safety in different locations of the neighbouring counties.
As normalcy returned in the affected region of Ganta and enthronement of democratically elected Government in Liberia, the People of Ganta most ravaged by the civil war returned to their ancestral homes. Their return was met with stiff resistance by the Government forces, and aliens already let into possession of their ancestral Lands/Homes by the Government of Liberia.

The people of Ganta were brutalized, killed and consequently chased away by stern looking Liberian security forces dispatched by the Defendant to supervise the taking over of their Land by aliens and illegal occupants, assisted by the Defendant, they claimed.

Another civil unrest was created by this narratives, and following their strong resistance and undying resolve in reclaiming their ancestral home, many lives of the heads of families of Indigenous People of Ganta were lost, as the strong among them succeeded in reclaiming an infinitesimal portions of their inheritance. No date has been fixed for hearing of the matter.-press release

Rwandan Speaker visits Speaker Nuquay

The Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa has visited his counterpart here, Emmanuel James Nuquay at the Capitol Building on Capitol Hill. Welcoming the Rwandan Speaker, Speaker Nuquay said the visit is in right direction as Liberia and Rwanda try to build stronger ties.

He said members of the House of Representatives are grateful for the visit and hoped the initiative will yield fruits in the interest of both countries. For her part,the visiting Rwandan Speaker Mukabalisa said she is here to attend the International Women Colloquium, which kicks off today, March 7, and saw it necessary to visit her counterpart in Liberia, adding that their discussion went well.

Also briefing reporters on behalf of Speaker Nuquay, his chief of office staff Eric Kennedy said, the meeting between the two speakers was cordial, focusing on relations between the Liberian Legislature and the Parliament of Rwanda.

Mr. Kennedy said Speaker Mukabalisaspecifically expressed her wiliness to work with the Liberian Legislature in strengthening ties between the two countries.

He said the Rwandan Speaker was particular about women’s participation in politics, stressing the need to enact the affirmative action bill currently before the legislature here as well as the need to have more women in politics and leadership in Africa.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Gov’t honors Defense Minister, others

Government has held an investiture ceremony for Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, state run University of Liberia President Dr. Emmett A. Dennis and late former Internal Affairs Minister Ambulai Johnson for their services to the state.

The honoring of the three officials, one of which was posthumous forformer Minister Johnson, came Monday, 6 March when President EllenJohnson - Sirleaf called a special convocation in the C. Cecil DennisAuditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.

Government officials and members of the diplomatic corps assigned herehad turned out on government invitation to witness the event.

Government praised the honorees for their immense services to the state and their contributions made in helping to boost national transformation in their various roles in government.

Government has recognized the effective administrative role of Minister Samukai in handling the Armed Forces of Liberia since his appointment by President Sirleaf beginning her first term in 2006.

There were hands of applauds in the hall when part of a citation read to Minister Samukai reflected the army’s external service in peacekeeping missions while under Minister Samukai’s leadership.

As for University of Liberia or UL President Dr. Dennis, government said he focused on academic integrity after taking over the institution, and he has collaborated with many other institutions across Africa to create collaborative relationships for UL.

Under Dr. Dennis’ watch, the UL has been recognized to have more than 22,000 students and more than 2000 instructors. R. Dennis has been credited for academic activities being more assured, even though fewer interruptions are acknowledged.

Concerning the late Internal Affairs Minister Mr. Ambulai whose widow Mrs. Johnson received the posthumous citation, government said here turned to Liberia and accepted his appointment in 2006 by President Sirleaf as Minister of Internal Affairs and faithfully served in the position.

He has been described as a peacemaker, highly skilled individual and a fear less public servant whose untimely demise has denied the state of his service. The honorees expressed thanks to President Sirleaf and the government for the recognition.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

Court fines GW indictees

Several Liberian officials facing economic sabotage trial based on Global Witness accusations of receiving bribes have each been fined US$200.00 for not attending a Court session, except former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler who was present and Sen. Morris Saytumah who the Court “inadvertently” did not serve the notice of assignment.

Global Witness had claimed that the indictees allegedly received bribes of over US$950,000 from U.K. - based Sable Mining to make law declaring Mount Wologizi in Lofa County a non - bidding concession in favor of the mining company.

The case began since 2016, but legal formalities have beeninterplaying ahead of the main hearing which should have begun onMonday, 6 March with the reading of the entire indictment to theindictees to ascertain their plea whether or not they were guilty.

Judge YamieQuiquiGbeisay ruled Monday that each of the defendantsthat were fined should pay US$200.00 into government revenues on orbefore the case is called at 9am on Tuesday, 7 March.

He has ordered the clerk to issue a writ of arrest against theindictees if they fail to pay the fines within the time prescribed.

The case involves former Speaker Tyler, former ruling Unity PartyChairman Sen. H. Varney G. Sherman, Ernest C.B. Jones, Nigeriannational Christopher Onanuga, former National Investment CommissionBoss Richard Tolbert, Sable Mining executive Klaus Piprek and WillieBelleh. Others include Dr. Eugene SHannon and Sen. Morris Saytumah.

They are facing charges of bribery, economic sabotage, criminalconspiracy, criminal solicitation, money laundering and criminalfacilitation.

From the onset, Judge Gbeisay had warned on Monday that during thetrial, the defendants are under obligation to respect the mandate ofthe court, having earlier recognized that they were all prominentcitizens of this country.
The Court said the assignment issued had clearly called for trial, and the fact that counsels for defendants filed a paper did not in any way invalidate the assignment out of the Court.

“However, this action being their first time, this Court will not do the obvious thing to set Bill Bond aside and have them arrested. This Court hopes and prays that such action will not be repeated,” the Judge warned.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

“Women must fight for their places”

Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Madam Julia DuncanCassell says if women are to get on par with their male counterparts,they must continue to fight for their places.

Minister Cassell told Coffee Break on UNMIL Radio via mobile phone onMonday, 6 March that for too long women here have been left out ofdecision - making process that has left a negative impact on them.

“The significance of this conference is to look at documents becauselast year we did similar conference; but this conference, we arelooking at women leadership, girls education includinginter-generational dialogue with ... organizations, inter- religiouscouncil, among others”, she said.

Having cited the global theme for this women conference as “Be Boldfor Change”, Minister Cassell said the theme alone speaks to the factsthat women must not be held in the back, but they must rather fight toget to their rightful places.

Minister Cassell concluded that the conference will mark the strugglethat women around the world have made to gain equality and equalrights as well as to reflect on the changes and progress thatculminated in their international endeavors.

She said the conference which is due to take place at the SamuelKanyon Doe Sports Complex from Tuesday to Wednesday this week willdemonstrate some of the ways in which women can fight for their place.

She says Liberian women from across the 15 counties here, includingwomen organizations, local NGOs and youth groups are being targeted toturn out for the international women conference.

At the end of the conference, Minister Cassell hopes that a draftdocument would be prepared that will speak to the numerous challengesthat women in Liberia are undergoing.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Winston W. Parley

EU ambassador tours South-eastern Liberia

European Union Ambassador to Liberia Madam Tiina Intelmann has led a tour to the south-eastern part of Liberia to visit projects and witness first-hand development challenges of the Region.

Amb. Intelmann along with three technical teams from the EU Delegation toured the south-eastern counties of Liberia between February 16 and 24.

A release issued in Monrovia says the purpose of the mission was to have a comprehensive view of the challenges faced by the population of these counties, to meet local authorities and monitor EU projects in the region.

Team one was charged with the responsibilities for Health, and ittravelled to Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland, and Grand kru Counties,monitoring monitored EU-funded projects implemented by Partners inHealth (PIH) and International Rescue Committee (IRC).

They also visited project activities implemented by Danish RefugeeCouncil (DRC). Team TWo was in care of Infrastructure, and theytraveled to Rivercess, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, River Gee and Grand
Gedeh Counties.

They visited the south-east concerning ongoing contracts in the fieldof roads, energy and education. They also monitored the EU-fundedworks to rehabilitate the road between Buchanan and Cestos Cities, aswell as the design of the Coastal Highway between Buchanan, Greenville
and Harper Cities.

Team Three was led by Amb. Intelmann, met with the County Superintendents of Maryland and Grand Kru. She also addressed the Council of Presidents and students of William V. S. Tubman University in Harper to present the European Union and its cooperation with Liberia. AmbIntelmann and her Team visited in person some of the 72 clinicsand Health Centres that have been supported with EU funding in thelast year. - Press release

Amos Siebo and wife free on bail

The Monrovia City Court at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill Friday, 5 March released from detention political apisrant Amos S. Siebo and his wife, Margrette Siebo after the couple spent a night at the Monrovia Central Prison Compound for their alleged involvement in voter registration fraud.

The suspects have been charged with illegal possession of voter’s materials and criminal conspiracy but were temporally set free by the court after their lawyers filed criminal appearance bond.

Defendant Siebo, who earlier served as consultant in theh President Deliverable Unit at the Ministry of State, was arrested by police on Sunday, 27 February at his private residence in Johnsonville Township, Montserrado County along with five females, in possesssion of electoral materials, including dozens of blank voter’s cards, forms and cameras.

The Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism last week confirmed that police broke up an illegal voter’s registration ring led by Siebo at a private residence in Johnsonville, Montserrado County and retrieved assortment of NEC-issued implements, including cameras, dozens of blank voter’s cards and forms.
Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Thursday, 2 March confirmed the involvoment of two of its contractual staffs in the voter’s registration syndicate in Johnsonville Township.

Chairman Jerome George Kokorya made the confirmation during a press conference held at the headquarters of the NEC in Sinkor, Monrovia. He said information obtained suggests that the two, who are temporary staffs for the current voter registration exercise reportedly, received money from one Mr. Amos Siebo for “ungodly act.”
He indicated that though the two individuals whose names are yet to be disclosed, made away with voter’s registration materials, but items stolen by them did not enter the data system of the commission, and that NEC will beef up its network in the Johnsonville area during exhibition of registered voters’ list.

Chairman Kokorya, who did not disclosed names of the individuals, said the Liberia National Police was in full control of the investigation and that the commission is prepared to help in whatever way to ensure that the process reaches amicable resolution.

Prior to the transfer of the couple to court, police had set free five ladies, who were allegedly implicated in the scandal based on lack of evidence.
The five ladies earlier told police investigation that Mr. Siebo was only trying to give them ride in his vehicle to Monrovia when they were arrested, denying their involvement in the syndicate.By Emmanuel Mondaye


Science key to nation building

Assistant Foreign Minister for Administration, Mr. Terry Genesis has stressed a need for government to prioritize sciences in various high schools to enable students, who are desirous of becoming future scientists, achieve their dreams.

He said everywhere around the world science plays major role in nation building, emphasizing that if Liberia is to get back on the right trajectory, science education must be taken seriously.

Assistant MinisterGenesis made the call over the weekend, when he proxy for his Boss,Marjon V. Kamara at program marking the 7th Annual Science Fair of the Turkish Light International School in Airfield, Sinkor.

Addressing members of the teaching staff, parents, and dignitaries at the occasion, Mr. Genesis said, “I think this initiative must be encouraged and supported by national government, and the private sector to identify more talents of our kids in the areas of science and technology.”

Giving a background of the science fair, he recalled that back in 1942, when William Emerson Ritter and Edward W. Scripe created the Science Talent Search for high school students in the United States.

He said history shows that Mr. Alan J. Fletcher at age 18, won the first American National Science Fair in which he demonstrated the laws of motion thereby, making the idea of science fair popular in the U.S.

According to him,science innovation became famous when the Jonas Salk vaccine for polio and the launch of sputnik brought science fiction to reality, and attracted increasing number of students to the fair, noting that this should draw attraction and interest in among Liberia youths especially,scholars.

Minister Genesis said program of the Turkish Light International School System is a strong demonstration of the African Union quest for domestication and implementation of Africa’s Science, technology, and innovation in all member States, as contained in the document, Agenda for Africa 2063.

Meanwhile, hehas called on young people to develop interest in and passion for science, technology, and innovation to move Liberia forward, saying if we can begin the little commitment and achieve the bigger dreams to put Liberia in the annals of world recognition in science and technology.

By Lewis S.The-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Turkish school system holds 7th Science Fair

The Turkish Light International School System campus along the Airfield route came alive when students between ages 10 and 18demonstrated their talents in a science exhibition.

With their respective ambition as Scientists, Chemists, and Biologists, they demonstrated their skills, making volcanoes, changing liquid to solid, among others. The school’s science and technology department has attracted many students to enroll in the institution.

Speaking over the weekend at the 7th Annual Science Fair, a Biology instructor of the school, Mr. Melville Edmond, Sr. recalled the first science fair was held in 2009- 2010 academic year when the school was at the junior high level.

He said from that period up to now the school has produced young students, who are burning with passion to achieving their dreams in various science disciplines.

The head of the science department said the decision to focus on science is to provide e opportunity for students who are so desirous of becoming Scientist, Chemist, Biologist, among others.

According to Mr. Menville, the primary objective of the program is to introduce young people, who interested in following their dreams by providing them a venue where they can exercise their scientific imagination, adding that it is also meant to be a human adventure, encouraging students to demonstrate skills that they have.

He said the program also provides inspirational motivation for students of the next generation of the scientific professional that will come, saying as we all sit and witness this event let it not be seeing as a light international program, but rather it must be seeing as a event that can interest parent and guardian to support their children skills.
Meanwhile Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn says the fair program very impressive, saying the science in the education system was limited to see the science fair and what these children are doing very well.

When quiz about the reason why there had been lack of interest from students in the science field, Minister Dahn quickly responded by saying the reason why there are lack of interest in the science field has to do with vacancy that was created by the war that cause the death of most science teacher, but am sure the performance they carrying out here we can say they can now compete with others students in the region.

By Lewis S. Teh

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