- Says President Weah
- By Mark Neywon Mengonfia
- It was exactly 10:58 am when Liberian President, George Weah and first lady, Clar Marie Weah walked in the conference Hall at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town to officially commence the 2020 Anti- SGBV National Conference.
President Weah dressed in his all white African clothing apparently to symbolize peace, took to the podium and committed his government willingness to support a fight that will ensure that in two years’ time, the issue of rape will be a thing of the pass.
He said “As President, I want to assure you that I remain relentless in my commitment to the cause of reducing and eradicating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia.”
The two days event is under the Theme “A National Call To Action: Inclusive Involvement to Fight Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia”.
President Weah said, the urgent call to action is in response to an alarming increase in rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in recent times, especially during a time when we are at war with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic adding” We are in fact witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”
He furthered that their aim and purpose during the two days National Conference, is to rally all Sexual and Gender-Based Violence stakeholders to discuss openly and contribute collectively to determine the best practices and procedures that would enable us to bring an end of rape and other forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Liberia.
At the end of this Conference, he said, these proposals will be taken into account and serve as a validation of the “Government of Liberia & Partners’ Roadmap on Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence 2020-2022”.
Following the review of this Roadmap over the next two days of our deliberations, the Government plans to achieve effective results by adopting a new approach to addressing the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence-prevention process across all sectors, which will be characterized by adequately-funded prevention and response mechanisms.
He stressed that it is expected that at the end of Conference, the Roadmap will be fully inclusive of every possible thought we have on fighting this menace to our society, with the objective of improving our coordinated national response.
“With the adoption of these strategies, we are hopeful that we will be able to improve and strengthen the enforcement of existing legislation, policies and standards that support the prevention and response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, thereby reducing the incidence of rape, child marriage, and female genital mutilation, amongst others” the Liberian leader said.
Additionally, President Weah said “We also want to ensure that our women, girls, boys and other vulnerable people at risk of abuse in our society will have increased access to information, protection and specialized services.”
The opening program brought together women and children groupings in Liberia. It also attracted the attention diplomatic missions in Liberia, traditional Chief and elders and former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Making a statement, former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said rape and COVID-19 are two crisis that need to be treated as a national emergency by the Weah lead government.
She called on the government to treat those expected recommendations which can be treated as soon as possible to do so and
When the Speaker of the House of Representatives was consumed with activities on his phone, former President Sirleaf said ” Mr. President, the roadmap is before you, Mr. Speaker, please lift your head, the roadmap is before you, Mr. Pro temporary, the roadmap is before you and me.
She went to say it is the responsibilities of all Liberians to ensure that kids, women are free from violence.
Linda Cummings of the Women NGO Scretarial it is unexeccptabl for over 50% of citizens ( women, girls and boys) to live in fear.
Madam Cummings called on all the participants to see whatever conclusion from the two days conference as a living document that will help bring end to SGBV adding ” It should not be left with only the women groups.”
She furthered employed efforts of all government institutions to help in making the road map against SGBV a living one.
For his part, Traditional Chief, Zanzan Kawah said years back in Liberia, the issue of rape had no space at which time he said they were in control.
The titled man in his broken English said the laws passed by the government are good, but are not being implemented.
He said” anybody who rape, send them to our office. In our area, no human rights there and if you people want this thing called rape to finish, work with us.”
He called on President of Liberia to respect the office of the traditional leaders and work with them to find a lasting solution to the national illness (rape).
Swedish- It is hard to argue against this.
She said the conference was welcome in that people on the past who could not speak to
She promised her government’s willingness to support all efforts to end rape in Liberia adding” we will actually participate in the discussion of the roadmap.”
Has been in the profession for over twenty years. He has worked for many international media outlets including: West Africa Magazine, Africa Week Magazine, African Observer and did occasional reporting for CNN, BBC World Service, Sunday Times, NPR, Radio Deutchewells, Radio Netherlands. He is the current correspondent for Reuters
He holds first MA with honors in International Relations and a candidate for second master in International Peace studies and Conflict Resolution from the University of Liberia.