By: R. Joyclyn Wea
The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) is a feminist, women-led, nonprofit and non-governmental organization that champions the rights of women and girls, builds their capacities, and takes collective action so Liberian women and girls can claim their rights and have their voices heard, free from violence and discrimination.
As part of the 16th Day of Activism Campaign, the Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) with support from Kvinnatill Kvinna convened various actors along the referral pathway to discuss the process and challenges in ensuring the right to due process.
Tenneh Johnson of the SGBV Unit says protection for prosecution actors is needed. She stressed the need to focus more on what happened at the one-stop center which is the place of first instance for SGBV cases and the need to strategize ways to speed up response at the court when a matter of such is taken there.
“Conversation with legislators needs to happen for the establishment of a budget line for survivors’ welfare. Cllr. Isaac George head SGBV Unit, speaking at a program held by ORWOCH with support from Kvinna INT Kvinna.
According to Cllr. George, much has been around SGBV evidenced by the many cases that are being reported but said more education is needed because there are people who are perpetrating these crimes out of ignorance.
Susie T. Telleh is the head of the women and children division at the Liberia national police. She wants the new government to consider budgetary support to all line ministries and agencies that are involved with the SGBV fight and not the Ministry of Gender.
Telleh further emphasized the need for training on gathering and preservation of evidence that will cover all service providers noting “We only have two crime caves and chain of custody. The issue of logistics and preservation are key if we want to fight SGBV cases.”
Edrache Tarley is the supervisor at the Duport Road, one-stop center. She is concerned about messaging. She recommends that the institution and partner begin to look in that direction of having a jingle on the radio about the situation.
Glady of Medica Liberia is concerned about the referral pathways noting that the government needs to come in to ensure these things are in place. “Who regulates the safe who, who takes care of the children, we have to be talking else nothing will change.” She also highlighted the lack of vehicles to transport survivors and perpetrators.
At the same time, the Minister of Gender says they are depending on CSOs to help with reporting of cases noting that there are limited safe homes and survivors don’t have support.
Minister Howard said there is no SGBV safe home in Montserrado County and there is a lack of medication at homes that housed these survivors emphasizing the need for budgetary support to homes.
She also disclosed that reuniting survivors with the family has been a major impediment to the ministry.
ORWOCH envisions a world where everyone lives free from violence, and where men and women, boys and girls enjoy equal rights and opportunities and have a say in decisions that affect them.