The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the United Nations have ended a one day joint program in Monrovia on Sexual and Gender Based Violence.
Speaking at the program, the Minister of Gender, Julia Duncan Cassel, said the rape law which criminalizes rape as a non-billable offense, has strengthened the criminal justice system through the establishment of Criminal Court “E” that exclusively handles SGBV crimes at a centralized level in Monrovia.
She said the Gender Ministry has also set up a SGBV-sex crimes protection unit to fast track prosecution of SGBV cases as well as expanded the women and children protection sections of the Liberia National Police across the Country, including training police officers to handle SGBV crimes.
She noted that at the community level across Liberia, the ministry increased campaigns and awareness in various schools, traditional and religious institutions, and also established a national taskforce.
Statistics from the ministry disclosed that in 2015, eight children between ages 6-13 died as the result of rape, and six women between ages 28 and31 died as a result of gender based violence, while in 2014 10 girls between 6 and 13 died of rape.
In January 2016, 27 rape cases were reported with two girls, 14 and 16, reported died. Minister Cassel also said few weeks ago, a female allegedly raped a 13 years old girl with sex toys, noting that the victim is in critical condition.
For her part, the Ambassador of Sweden, Lena Nordstorm, said her government along with other partners are ready to support the battle against SGBV and will make sure the practice is eradicated. Ambassador Nordstorm said the Government of Sweden and she as a woman will always support SGBV.
Launching the program, Dr. Phimole Nlambo Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director here said, nationwide 50 percent of women that died in 2012 were killed by their partners beating on them. She added that students have been troubled for sex for grade in their various schools. “Traditional practices should not be used to exploit the women and girls around the world”, she noted.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Liberia, Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, said Liberians should always be proactive in preventing cases rather than wait until something happens first. \
By Ethel A. Tweh-Edited by Jonathan Browne