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President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says there is a need for stronger and effective affirmative actions to fight sexual and gender-based violence against women, girls and children.

She emphasized that the campaign must begin at homes, churches, organizations, among other places, where parents have an obligation to protect their children.A release from the Executive Mansion says, president Sirleaf made the assertion when she officially launched the 16 Days of Activism against Sexual and Gender-based Violence campaign at the YMCA on Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

President Sirleaf admonished parents to exercise care and caution to keep children out of harm’s way and in order to protect their future. “In the schools, churches and homes,” the Liberian leader said, “everyone must join in efforts to protect children,” adding, “Responsibility belongs to parents – the first responsibility belongs to you parents, you mothers and you fathers in the homes – to protect your children.”

She further indicated that every mother and father in the home has a secondary responsibility to reach out to every child. Likewise, the teachers have a responsibility; we all in our churches or organizations; wherever we are, we need to bear this message.

President Sirleaf also challenged leaders of the three branches of government to ensure an effective effort to sustain the fight against sexual and gender-based violence against children is promoted. “Those of us responsible for the three branches of government, as leaders of government, will go back with all that have been said, and be able to look at it and see what does it mean for us; what can we do to make sure,” she said.

She admonished the chairperson of National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwon, to ensure that the well-being of the members of Poro and Sandi societies are observed, managed and monitored. She hoped that there are no constraints to children going to school; because according her, an ‘educated person’ will not violate the rights of others. “Education is an important part in whatever we do to protect these children for the future; so we look to you chief. We will work with you to make sure that 

The Liberian leader used the occasion to recognize international movie star, Frank Atus, who also formed part of the program and urged him to ensure that whatever song he sings or whatever he does must send a message loud and clear that he stands for the rights of children and the protection of women; that his voice will be heard to create massive awareness.

President Sirleaf thanked the 15 children who represented the 15 sub-political divisions of the country for their brilliant performance during the ceremony. She called on all broadcast media institutions especially the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) to repeatedly play their voices; stressing that repetition brings action.

 

She used the opportunity to thank Liberia’s partners for the continuous support in the different interventions and programs that lead to the protection and empowerment of women and children and in buttressing government’s efforts in securing for them a safe future.
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Reading out a Special Message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) Farid Zarif, noted that the fight against gender-based violence cannot be won by Government alone, but the collective efforts of all citizens. Mr. Ban said he is deeply concerned about domestic violence perpetrated against women and girls.

SRSG Zarid used the occasion to call on government to increase its contribution to the UN Trust Fund that is aimed at ending violence against women. He pointed out that UN peacekeeping operations, peacebuilding efforts and the women peace and security agenda have all highlighted the critical values of women’s participation in peace and security operations.

The year’s observance of the 16 Days of Activism, organized by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in collaboration with partners, is being held under the national theme: “From Peace in the World; Safe Spaces and Education for All.”

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs. Julia Duncan-Cassell, whose ministry is spearheading the 16-Day of Activism campaign, made a passionate plea for more action to curb rape and other vices associated with gender-based violence. She stressed that enough is enough and the fight against gender-based violence will continue until the rights of women and children are protected under the laws of the country.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is an international campaign to raise awareness about the negative effects of gender violence. Activists intend to speak on the various laws against gender violence and demand more accountability during the 16 Days of Activism.-Press release

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