Liberia: Nation Commits Itself - to Ending Violence Against Women

The 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries movements against detestable actions against women or gender-based violence has now reached a new acme, with the pledge of commitment to a document that puts a restrain on all forms of violence endure by women. Originated from the United Nations and signed unto by several countries through their presidents, Liberia yesterday seized the moment which seeks to restore the dignity of women and make them whole once again. The New Republic witnessed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appending her signature to the document co-named "Commit" at a ceremony attended by Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and UN Women Representative Sheelagh Kathy Mangones.

Liberia yesterday made history by becoming the 20th nation that signed "Say No to Violence against Women" document, thereby committing itself to abrogating the intolerably intractable perpetration of despicable actions against women.

Committing Liberia to such unprecedentedly monumental initiative was a huge elation for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who said she was touched by ongoing efforts aimed at addressing gender-base violence in the country.

At a very compendious ceremony at the Foreign Ministry before affixing her signature to the document, the President, sandwiched by Gender Minister Julia Casell and UN Women Representative to Liberia, reflected on numbers of strides her administration has made to address the issue of violence against women, and also indicated the significance of the document to what Liberia subscribes to.

She said Liberia was not in the back sit when it comes to taking actions that respond to gender-based violence issues including the crafting a national action plan on gender-based violence or violence against women.

Madam Sirleaf was specific about efforts her administration is considering such as ensuring the allocation of funds in the national budget for the implementation of the national action plan, up-scaling of efforts through the justice system to ensure that women and girls have access to the justice system, among others.

As further expression of Liberia's unwavering commitment to addressing gender-base violence issue, the president instructed Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cesell, to ensure proper popularization of the document, ensuring that Judicial and Legislative Branches of Government have access to the document.

Also detailing the significance of the "Commit" document, UN Women Representative Sheelagh Kathy Mangones recalled the seriousness of violence against women and girls, adding "Whether is in Europe, Africa, or North America, she said violence against women and girls is a serious problem and an obstacle in society."

She recognized that violence against women was an obstacle to national development as well as obstacle to human rights and economic and social development.

"As UN women, we have committed ourselves to this to mobilize attention as part of the global campaign to support general equality as well as the fight against gender-based violence," she said, and added that the commitment made by President Sirleaf provides a very strong encouragement of a strong endorsement of Liberia's commitment and provides concrete promises to address three of the key issues of violence against women."

Apart from President Sirleaf who signed the "Commit" document, about 19 world leaders have gone ahead with signing it, thus pledging their countries' commitment to the violence against women campaign.

For her part, Gender Minister Julia Duncan Casell called the initiative a manifestation of President Sirleaf's commitment to "all of the treaties and UN protocols that we signed."

By signing the document, she said, is a sign that President Sirleaf was in support of all efforts geared toward addressing the issue of violence against women.

She called for the participation of all, including the media by playing a very crucial role in educating Liberians to stop violence against women, and stop violence against men as well.

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