21 February 2013

Liberia: Pledge to End Violence Against Women Signed

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has signed a pledge demonstrating the Government of Liberia's commitment to end violence against women and girls, thus making her the 19th Head of State to sign such document. According to an Executive Mansion release, the signing of the commitment is in keeping with the UN Secretary-General's campaign code named: "UNITE to End Violence against Women."

UN Women is leading a commitment drive for Governments to publicly express their commitment and dedication to ending violence against women and girls.

At the signing ceremony Tuesday at her Foreign Ministry office, President Sirleaf concurred with the global campaign that it is the responsibility of all governments to protect their citizens while intensifying efforts to end impunity against violence.

As she signed the commitment, this is what she said: "I am committing Liberia to three pledges: adopt domestic violence legislation and ensure its implementation by relevant state authorities; ensure that funds are allocated in the National Budget for the implementation of the National Action Plan on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence; and upscale efforts with the Liberian Justice System to improve women and girls' access to justice and to end impunity for violence against women and girls."

President Sirleaf instructed the Gender and Development Minister, Julia Duncan Cassell to ensure that the commitment is well publicized and, at the same time, shares it with all the branches of Government for their full participation in its implementation.

She also mandated Minister Duncan Cassell to carry Liberia's pledge to the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, slated for March which will be held under the theme: "Ending Violence against Women." Liberia is expected to chair this Session.

Speaking after the signing, the UN Women Representative to Liberia, Madam Sheelagh Kathy Mangones, praised President Sirleaf for always demonstrating her commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls.

Madam Mangones expressed support to the Liberian Government in its drive to protect citizens, especially women and girls, as the UN's zero tolerance will always be upheld in collaboration with individual governments.

For her part, Gender and Development Minister, Mrs. Duncan Cassell described the instrument as security for women and girls. She promised to work with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that those who violate the rights of women and girls are prosecuted in keeping with law.

She vowed that her Ministry will stimulate programs with individual women and groups to ensure that women and girls are protected from violence by their male counterparts.

Statistics show that one among every three women across the world will be raped or beaten in their lifetime, which is equal to one billion women.

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