AFELL Adopts Five Years Strategic Plan

MONROVIA-The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) has ended a two-day intensive working session with the adoption of a five-year strategic plan.

Held in Ganta, Nimba County, the gathering which brought together professional female lawyers of Liberia was jointly supported by the European Union and the United Nations spotlight initiative.

The program is implemented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and the rule of law pillar.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the Human Rights officer Leetor Dymacole Williams who proxy for  the Country representative of the OHCHR Uchenna Emelonye pledged her office’s commitment to supporting  AFELL’s activities.

“It is expected that your work- plan will incorporate specific activity aimed at enhancing laws and policies to protect women and girls issues in the Country”, she said.

Her remarks were flanked by her colleague D.Melvin Nyanway also a Human Rights Officer at the OHCHR who told the gathering that the OHCHR which was  created in 1993, has its political offices in New York and operational offices in Geneva respectively.

According to him, the OHCHR worked under four thematic areas namely: Research, Rights to Development, Human Rights Treaty Division and the Human Rights Council and specific procedures divisions.

Providing insight about the activities and workings of the OHCHR, Mr. Nyanway told the professional female lawyers that at OHCHR, they among other things set standards for Human Rights protection globally and also monitor and implement on the ground in order to help impact Human Rights situations.

He encourages AFELL to take advantage of the Universal Periodic Review process.

The UPR process among other things allows professional groups like AFELL to make specific reports on women issues every four to five years.

“You can catalog some legal challenges and make an independent report on specific gender issues on the fifth year “, he urged authorities of AFELL.

The two days intensive strategic plan among other things looked at the increase in women participation in politics and leadership.

“AFELL is particularly concerned about sexual, physical and psychological and of women desirous of participating in the election process”, Cllr. Philomena Williams, President of AFELL said.

The female lawyers of Liberia she stated, also frowned on intimidation, names calling including insults of women, primarily to prevent their participation.

Moreover, the professional female body through its President stressed that it is unacceptable to abuse and assault women during elections as well as threats to them after the elections process.

As a means of remedy the situation, AFELL new strategic plan among other things seeks to encourage women participation, prevent physical assaults and ensure that women in politics with reference to Montserrado County District four Representative Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis are protected.

Cllr. Williams told her colleagues that Lawmaker Dennis submitted a letter to AFELL addressed to the Speaker of the 54th National Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers on allegations of threats on her life and requesting protection.

AFELL she assured the body will strategize on coordination with the both Houses of the National Legislature to support prevention of any form of post elections violence.

Among other things, AFELL intends as part of its five years strategy plan to structure a plan that addresses exposure to violence that harms child’s development.

“It shall include striving for a legislation that will stress government’s responsibility to ensure that children are provided their basic rights; a law that will take our children off the streets and protect them from harm and danger” she emphasized.

The drafting of a conclusive law that will harmonize the economic hardship of parents and guardians against the right to protect a child from being used as sales agents and or beggars to support the family as well as an amendment to the 2011 children’s Law for the realization of the child’s rights including the capturing of gender insensitive laws are among key issues agreed upon by the body.

Our strategic five years plan will provide a five-year vision statement concentrating on key components of violence , the actors involved , policy making  and litigation and or prosecution “, she added.

At the same time, the plans will help identify barriers, address the needs, take a comprehensive approach to make women and children feel safe thereby promoting peace and security in the Country.

AFELL, she however indicated, is incapacitated due to the lack of funding to finance litigation as such, it is desirous of designing an accelerated action plan that will advance Access to Justice under the rule of law.

Also speaking at the program was the National Vice President of the Liberian National Bar Association, Cllr. Jamal C.Dehtho, Jr., who commended AFELL for the level of work done over the period.

However, he encouraged them to do more awareness on their programs and activities in order for them to be more visible.

“Be reminded about the upcoming elections and include in your plans, mechanism that will protect women against election violence”, he cautioned them.


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