UN Ambassador wants government accountable in FGM fight
By Kruah Thompson
The visiting UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for Africa on female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, Jaha Dukureh, says the Government of Liberia should be held accountable if FGM practice continues behind closed doors in the country despite its recent ban by Liberian authorities.
“Failure on the government’s part to implement the laws of the country and taking into consideration the one they are signatories to is a clear indication that they have failed the women and girls, who are victims of FGM in the country”, Amb. Dukureh notes.
She spoke here Monday, November 21, 2022 at the Kofi Anna Conference Hall in the One UN Women Office in Monrovia.
According to the renowned international women’s rights activist, Liberia like many other countries in Africa has beautiful laws on paper and is signatory to many international laws, but has failed to implement these laws.
She says if FGM is still happening behind closed doors, like it has been said by many residents in the country, then it simply means Liberia has failed its girls and that the necessary authority must be called out to clarify why it is so.
“This means that the country like many other countries on the continent continues to fail girls by not implementing the laws we put on the book and the things we signed onto”, she underscores.
Though she reveals that in places like Gambia, Somalia, and Mauritania, FGM is practiced for political reasons, but observes that in Liberia, it is more of a vital passage.
The UN Women Goodwill Ambassador claims that having an event with traditional leaders is instrumental in her fight to end FGM in Liberia, but working with communities directly, investing and equipping them with tools that they need to make their voices heard cannot be overemphasized.
She describes her conversation with the press as a means of getting to know the media community in Liberia, and looks forward to providing training opportunities for journalists to report on human interest stories and conduct investigations that will give a deeper understanding of the reality of what women are faced with in Liberia.
She stresses that the media has a crucial role to play in ending FGM in Liberia, adding, “If change is going to come to our community, it has to come from us.”
“It is important that when we talk about FGM, there are women with life experiences who can speak lengthily on these issues from not just a personal experience, but women from the community who understand their tradition and culture and are not speaking for western ideology, but speaking from what they have been through.”
However, Ambassador Dukureh, who arrived in the country on 19 November to help government eliminates FGM and discrimination against women, assures that FGM can be eliminated in Liberia only if citizens get involved and hold government accountable for not implementing laws on the book.
She continues that as a victim of FGM herself, it is her responsibility to stand firm against FGM practices across the continent. Editing by Jonathan Browne
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