Following mass protests against increasing wave of rape of babies and women here, President George Manneh Weah says he will invite the civil society organizations, the Legislature and the Judiciary to sit and continue the discussion on issues of Sexual and Gender – Based Violence (SGBV).
Speaking Monday, 31 August after receiving a roadmap dossier from the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on SGBV at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, President Weah acknowledged the need to sit and discuss the way forward “if we are to be successful in protecting our girls, women and other vulnerable people.”
“I am going to peruse and invite the civil society organizations, the Legislature and the Judiciary to sit and continue the discussion because this is important and sensitive,” he says.
The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce was constituted by the president on July 29, 2020 with a mandate to put into place a technical team comprising relevant stakeholders who will regularly discuss, consult and provide concrete and enforceable recommendations on enhancing the fight against SGBV.
He had also mandated the team to submit to him their findings as promptly as possible for decisive actions
He continues: “As President of Liberia, it is my responsibility to lead all efforts to address social and societal irregularities and threats that befall our people or any segment of it.”
According to President Weah, he has stated on many occasions that as Feminist-in-Chief, he has zero tolerance for Sexual and Gender – Based Violence, adding that he means it.
He says Liberia can overcome the scourge of rape but it would require unity of purpose and deliberate focus among all Liberians on what can be collectively done.
President Weah indicates that the combined efforts of various branches of government—the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary—as well as the civil society, particularly sexual gender-based violence stakeholders, are needed on deck to stop rape in the country.
“Rape is a serious issue that needs to be weeded out of society,” he says, adding: “There must be a zero-tolerance on rape and all forms of SGBV. We must protect our girls, boys and women. It is paramount we do so without fear or favor.”
The president calls on all actors including the media, to join the fight against rape and SGBV.
“You are the voice for the voiceless,” President Weah notes, referring to journalists. “Help us to create awareness and join the conversation to stamp out rape.”
The roadmap document, according to the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce Chair, Williametta E. Saydee-Tarr, comprises findings and recommendations in the short, medium and longtime to address and possibly weed out rape beginning September 2020 to September 2022.–Press release