Liberia: OHCHR and Partners Conduct Awareness-Raising and Local Consultation On Human Rights and National Legislations Relating to Women and Girls

Zwedru — The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) in partnership with the Law Reform Commission (LRC), Ministry of Justice, the Independent National Human Rights Commission (INCHR) and CSOs have conducted a two-day intensive awareness-raising session and local consultation.

The activity targeted over fifty stakeholders and was held in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County on 6-7April. The awareness-raising sessions and consultations focused on strengthening the knowledge and consulting a cross section of stakeholders including senior-level executives from the three districts (Gbarzon, Konobo and Tchien) on the Domestic Violence Act, Inheritance Law, and the Rape Law. The activities also brought together the County Attorney, District superintendents and other key community stakeholders comprising women and youth, members of the traditional council, Civil Society Organizations, and other citizens from the remote part of the county to identify gaps in the laws, and make recommendations for possible amendment. The sessions were facilitated by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Legislative Drafting Bureau of the House of Representative and Representative from Civil Society Organizations.

During the consultation, participants made some significant level of contributions ranging from recommendation for rigorous awareness not only at the community level, but at the family level with the fact that vast majority of domestic violence cases erupted from close relatives particularly, in that part of the country. In addition, participants stressed the lack of adequate education on the Inheritance Law. This was evidenced by a quick assessment conducted by the OHCHR on the knowledge of the Inheritance Law.

Participants also flagged that the Domestic Violence Act failed to include female genital mutilation (FGM) as an act of violence against women and girls and recommended that it should be included in the Act given Liberia is a member state to several international and regional human rights instruments not compatible with the practice. These instruments include the Convention United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Chile (CRC)and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR).

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