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FOHRD condemns sexual violence by UMC Pastor

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The Foundation for Human Rights Defense (FOHRD) Liberia has strongly condemned a recent alleged sexual violence against a 15 – year – old girl by a senior pastor at St. John United Methodist Church, Rev. Samuel Karyeah in Gbarnga, Bong County.

According to police authorities in Gbarnga, Rev. Karyeah, who is also the Associate Dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology, allegedly raped a 15 – year – old girl on two separate occasions.

The police charge sheet established that in September last year, the victim was firstly tampered with in the Lelekpayea community and later on the Compound of the Gbarnga School of Theology.

Tee Wonokay, Executive Director of FOHRD alleges that the Methodist Pastor violated Article 5 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights which states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Further, he says Article 16 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which speaks to the Protection Against Child Abuse and Torture was violated.

FOHRD describes the inhumane action of Rev. Karyeah as complete violation of the victim’s human rights and a sexual violence that is least expected of a man of God.

The alleged sexual assault by the clergyman has brought the entire Christian religion to public disgrace especially the United Methodist Churches in Liberia, FOHRD continues.

The Non-Profit Organization believes the alleged sexual abuse by Pastor Karyeah could lead to psychological, emotional and metal effects on the life of the 15 – year – old, including Sexually Transmitted Infections, teenage pregnancy and stigma among other outcomes.

Meanwhile, FOHRD is calling for speedy trial of the perpetrator, and if found guilty of the crime of rape, he should be prosecuted in accordance with law.

The organization further cautions individuals engaged into such acts against women and children to desist as they are against the fundamental human rights and principles laid out in several human rights protocols.

FOHRD is a non-profit organization that prioritizes leadership, partnership, and advocacy in advancing human rights and social justice.

It documents and publishes on cases of religious and political discrimination, speaks out for the voiceless, and demands equal rights for all under the law.By Bridgett Milton
–Edited by Winston W. Parley