19 May 2017

Liberia: 'No Reason for Gender-Based Violence'

Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Henrique Tokpa has called for stronger actions to address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence.

He highlighted the role of traditional and religious leaders, youth and community members in protecting and promoting the rights of women and girls.

Speaking Thursday in Buchanan at the opening of a two-day social cultural audit of traditional, cultural and religious practices of sexual and gender based violence and harmful cultural practices affecting women and girls in Liberia, Minister Tokpa said there is no reason for women and girls to suffer any form of violence.

Minister Tokpa emphasized that the perpetration of violence against women can be blamed on the way people are brought up in society as the family fabric remains the backbone for development and progress.

"Sexual and Gender Based Violence is largely and deeply rooted in individual attitudes that condone violence within the family, community and the state," he stressed.

The Internal Affairs Minister affirmed government's commitment to ensuring the protection of the rights of all Liberians, especially women and girls, describing them as the nation's precious jewels.

In remarks, UN Women Officer-in-Charge, Mr. Yawo Mensah Maglo, said violence against women remains one of the most pervasive abuses of human rights in the world, yet according to him, not much has been done to bring perpetrators to justice and to respond to the situation of survivors.

"Violence against women is one of the least prosecuted crimes, and one of the greatest threats to lasting peace and development, as women are the backbone of nation building globally," he added.

Maglo recognized the support of the Kingdom of Sweden to addressing violence against women through the Government of Liberia and UN Joint Programme on Sexual and Gender-based Violence.

He said progress in the fight against SGBV is being made in the areas of: strengthening the justice system to prosecute SGBV cases; increasing access to health services; and addressing the psychosocial needs of the survivors and affected families.

The two-day event is being attended by over 65 traditional and religious leaders, youths, and community members from the various districts in Grand Bassa County, as well as representatives from the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Internal Affairs, Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism as part of the SGBV Joint Programme.

Led by UN Women, the Joint Programme addresses both the prevention and response to SGBV and harmful traditional practices in Liberia.

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