-Following The Expiration Of Executive Order #92
Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) and other human rights working groups in Liberia have alarmed over what they called the ‘high increase in FGM Practices’ in 11 of the fifteen counties of Liberia.
“We acknowledge with keen interest the one-year existence of Executive Order #92 issued by former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on January 19, 2018 which among others banned the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) for girls under age 18”.
The CSO working groups said the Executive Order has been considered by many including state actors as a step forward in the quest of ending FGM in Liberia.
According to them, they have recognized the efforts of all civil society actors, the press, relevant government ministries and agencies and their regional and international partners whose selfless work around ending FGM in Liberia contributed to the issuance of the Executive Order.
However, they added that the Executive Order was not effective as anticipated over its one year of existence as a law mainly due to the lack of knowledge on the existence of the ban and lack of a coordinated multi-sectoral implementation of the ban by state agencies.
They stressed that even with the existence of the Executive Order, there has been an increase in the number of bushes with the practice extending to 11 counties from the previous 10 counties, the newest being Grand Gedeh County.
According to them, despite these challenges at least one noticeable achievement was made by The National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NTCCEL) and along with the Liberia National Police (LNP) in September 2018 intervened and saved over hundreds of schools going girls who were forcibly recruited and were at the brink of being subjected to FGM in Nimba County and arrested six (6) practitioners responsible.
Noting the action by NTCCEL and the LNP came in the wake of calls made by members of the public and press statement issued by Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) and He4She Crusaders Liberia giving the government 72 hours ultimatum to restore the liberties of those girls.
The Civil society groups stated that their concern is focused on the expiration of the one-year duration of the Executive Order as of January 18, 2019 which in effect decriminalizes the act of Female Genital Mutilation in Liberia once again.
They concluded by reminding those in authority that during the 123rd Session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, the government of Liberia committed itself through a statement by the Deputy Minister of Justice to protect and promote the human rights of its citizens including fighting against all harmful traditional and cultural practices as stated in The Liberian Constitution under Article 5 (b).
Article 5 (b) of the Liberian Constitution states preserve, protect and promote positive Liberian culture, ensuring that traditional values which are compatible with public policy and national progress are adopted and developed as an integral part of the growing needs of the Liberian society. TNR