8 February 2013

Liberia: Swedish Govt. Pledges to Help End Sexual Violence

The Swedish Government through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has promised that it would assist in the battle against sexual and gender based violence in Liberia.

Mr. Per Carlson said the battle to end violence against women is a top priority for Sweden's development assistance to Liberia.

Ambassador Carlson was speaking recently when he led a Swedish delegation to the Star of the Sea Health Center in West Point where the Government of Liberia and the United Nations under the Joint Program on Sexual and Gender Based Violence had established a "one-stop-shop" center for SGBV survivors.

Ambassador Carlson was accompanied by the Head of Development Cooperation at SIDA Monrovia Office, Ms. Gisela Strand, Ambassador Joran Bjallerstedt and Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser, Chief of Staff of the Minister of International Development Cooperation.

The Swedish diplomats were in Liberia to attend the High Level Panel meeting on Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said Sweden was impressed with the "way in which funds provided the Program has been used.

Speaking earlier, Ms. Esperance Fundira, United Nations Population Fund Resident Representative informed the delegation that the One Stop SGBV Center was established to facilitate the provision of comprehensive services under one roof and minimize the constraints and stigma survivors face in seeking redress.

Ms. Fundira stressed the need for more health facilities aimed at providing comprehensive services like the ones provided at the West Point Health Center.

"We need to strengthen justice at the county level and intensify awareness at community level so that perpetrators are brought to justice and survivors obtain timely redress".

She lauded the partnership between the Government under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender and Development in addressing the issue of sexual and gender based violence.

According to her, "the Joint Program is a good example of how the UN is maximizing on the achievement of results based on each agency's comparative advantage and delivering as one in line with the new environment and the Paris Declaration".

The UNFPA Resident Representative thanked the Government and people of Sweden for the support received by the SGBV Joint Program.

The SGBV Joint Program is a partnership between the Government of Liberia and the United Nations to address sexual and gender based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse through prevention, treatment and psychosocial support to survivors. By Alline L. Dunbar, student journalist, Department of Mass Communications, University of Liberia.

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