The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) Spotlight Initiative has embarked on creating public awareness on existing laws and policies on sexual gender – based violence (SGBV), Harfum Practices (HPs) and Sexual Representative Health and Rights (SRHR) including access to legal redress by survival in Liberia.
The awareness is being implemented in the five Spotlight Counties with a cross sector of state actors including traditional leaders, students, disable, marginalized group, women and men in the Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape and Montserrado Counties, respectively.
The public awareness on laws and policies on Sexual Gender – Based Violence, Harmful Practices (FGM, Early, child marriage), Sexual Representative Health and Rights including accessing to legal redress by survival is being implemented by the He For She Crusaders Liberia ( HEFOSEL) with support from UN Women under the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative through West African Peace Building Network ( WANEP/ WINEP).
Speaking recently at the start of the awareness dialogue with 41 National Tribe Governors of Liberia and other traditional leaders in Monrovia, the Founder and National Coordinator of He for She Crusaders Liberia Mr. Tamba F. J. Johnson, appreciated the traditional leaders for their willingness to always accept and get involved with issues of national concerns.
He recalled that in 2020, the traditional leaders pledged their support toward the fight against violence in Liberia including awareness on COVID- 19. “Today, we are where we are with our elders taking the lead, we can be assured that SGBV, HPs, SRHR and access to legal redress can equally be handled,” he noted.
According to the Human Rights advocate, “laws and policies are meant to protect and provide real rights, leaving no one behind including Disability, people with different sexual orientation, women, girls, boys and men.”
He further mentioned that the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, declared Liberia a Secular State, meaning all have rights to be given equal opportunities, equal protection and equal access to seek legal answers to their dissatisfaction.
Mr. Johnson further mentioned that laws like the Inheritance Law, Rape Law, Domestic Violence Law, and Convention on Elimination of all forms of violence against women (CEDAW), Mapotu Protocol, all call for ending violence against women, girls and marginalized group and as well called for opportunities to be given to all irrespective of their gender and sexual identity.
For her part, Madam Musu K. Thompson, President of the National Tribal Governors of Liberia, extends thanks and appreciation to EU/ UN Spotlight for the level of supports given to Liberia and to He For She Crusaders Liberia for always reaching out to the ” Owners of the Land.” She says “This shows respect and further developed trust to work together.”
“We traditional leaders of Liberia, will go out but we are asking He For She Crusaders Liberia to talk to EU/ UN support to our engagement, if this is done, we traditional leaders will provide the needed answers to SGBV, HPs and SRHR, as for the access to legal redress,” she says.
“We will ensure that courts and families don’t compromise issues, because our ears and eyes will be opened, when we hear noise, we will use traditional intervention to solve that issue. So, we, traditional leaders, accept this initiative [and] pray for more engagements,” she concludes.–Press release