21 June 2019

Liberia: AFELL Laments Growing SGBV Cases, Calls for Quick Justice

Atty. Vivian Neal: "This menace needs to stop, but let the law protect the victims."

The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) wants government to swiftly intervene in the litany of alleged rape cases that are popping up across the country.

According to the female lawyers, there is a need for justice in the growing and alarming reports of sexual and gender-based violence being perpetrated against women and children, some of which have resulted to gruesome deaths.

In a statement released Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Monrovia, AFELL said that the government is under statutory and constitutional duties to its citizens to ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice, and do not go with impunity.

"We therefore, expect all the legal appropriate procedures and measures be taken to ensure the rule of law prevails," AFELL said in a statement read by its president, Attorney Vivian Neal.

The group said one of the key measures is that since the police are charged with gathering evidence, they must be equipped with the necessary electronic gadgets and expertise to investigate and that their investigations must be scientific to produce logical conclusions.

AFELL however lamented that it is unfortunate when the police investigate cases that result to death of alleged sexual and gender-based violence, most of the time nothing conclusive is heard about the cause of death or alleged perpetrators being prosecuted.

"In light of the foregoing, we are concerned about the outcome of these current and pending cases: Vivian Wleh, a 15-year old allegedly gang raped to death in the New Georgia community; the alleged brutal and barbaric murder of Joyce Otu-Jawheh in Congo-Town; the murder of Jackie Anderson, 31, and a mother of three children in Gardnersville; the death of Odell Sherman, 21, who was found unconscious in the home of Reverend Emmanuel Giddings and later died at the ELWA Hospital; as well as Yatta Kamara, whose corpse was found at the Palm Spring Resort in Congo-Town," AFELL added.

Meanwhile, AFELL is warning parents to monitor and protect their children in the face of the growing waves of violence against women and girls across the country.

"Pursuant to our culture where the entire village is responsible to teach a child; we are calling on parents, to specifically perform their roles in guiding, monitoring and protecting their children. We are also calling on religious and traditional leaders, well-meaning Liberians and friends in Liberia to use whatever space and occasion available to them to teach our children with those good moral values and continuously speak out against sexual and gender-based violence," AFELL appealed.

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