Chiefs and traditional leaders from across the country are calling for the castration of convicted rapists. They also said people who rape babies should be executed to send a strong signal of deterrence to those who may contemplate on committing similar act.
They made these calls in a resolution adopted to fight Sexual Gender Based Violence or SGBV across the country. The resolution was adopted over the weekend in Gbarnga, Bong County following a three-day meeting that brought together about 200 local leaders from various parts of the country.
The resolution also calls for the passage of the domestic violence bill currently at the Liberian Legislature and repeal of the law against sodomy to be replaced by harsher punishment for would-be perpetrators.
They also want chiefs to have withholding cells and authority to detain and punish people who commit sexual gender based violence. On the issue of elections, they recommended that a legislative seat be allocated for women in each of the 15 counties instead of on regional basis, and that county officials, including superintendents and chiefs should be elected.
They want government to provide funding to chiefs and traditional leaders to enable them hold town hall meetings and help with civil and voter’s education. The meeting, organized by the Carter Center, was graced by several dignitaries, including the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Rule of Law Vladimar Very and EOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, TundeAjisumo.
According to Carter Center Chief of Party, PewuFlomoku, the purpose of the meeting was to make chiefs aware of the wave of Sexual Gender Base Violence, emphasizing that their participation is so paramount because his organization wants to know or understand how they are going to intervene in finding solution to the problem.
He said at the end of the forum, the chiefs will come out with a draft resolution in which each of them have an input. Mr. Flomoku stressed the issue of SGBV is actually a serious matter in Liberia, noting that several girls and women have become victims and still remain victims.
Mr. Flomoku emphasized that in spite of these circumstances ‘there is need to protect the rights of women and children so that they too can live a happy life in the Liberian society, saying “Women and children rights must be protected.”
The chiefs’ resolution was presented to several stakeholders, including government, UNMIL, ECOWAS and other national and international bodies. DSRSG VladimarVrey commended the chiefs for taking stance on SGBV, adding that their involvement in such fight will make an essential impact.
He said UNMIL is committed to working with the traditional leaders of Liberia.
ECOWAS Ambassador Ajisumo told reporters he was glad with the meeting, noting that things were now turning around for the better in Liberia.
By Papa Morris& Zee Roberts-Editing by Jonathan Browne