MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Government of Liberia says it support the ongoing protest action against rape in the Country.
A group of Liberians under the banner, Affiliation of Women and Child Rights Advocates, staged a three-day protest against rape in Monrovia and other counties.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with ELBC Thursday, August 27, 2020, President George Weah said:” The Liberian Government is concerned about the unselective widespread incidents of rape cases nationwide.”
President Weah said:” Government has begun taking steps, by procuring two DNA Machines and setting up an Inter-Ministerial Taskforce to work along with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to find a workable remedy to the problem.”
The Liberian Leader added that Government and CSOs are reviewing various recommendations on penalties against rape perpetrators.
The Liberian Chief Executive, however, said the action of some Liberians to protest against the menace is welcoming, but frowned on unscrupulous individuals with different motives, during the protest.
Meanwhile, the Liberian Leader is admonishing leaders of the protesters to grant audience to any of the Government’s designees moving forward.
For the moment, President Weah has condemned the manhandling of some protesters by the police.
Images from Thursday’s protest showed police arresting and forcibly taking some protesters from the crowd in Monrovia.
But speaking in an ELBC interview, President Weah said:” Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, has been instructed to probe the alleged incidents of police brutality.”
The Liberian Chief Executive added that Government has also provided state security for protesters since its inception.
However, President Weah has spoken against the action by some unscrupulous individuals who intruded the protesters to cause violence.
The Liberian Leader pledged Government’s commitment to ensure the protection and safety of Liberians, and their rights to peacefully assemble.
At the same time, former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wants rape to be declared a national emergency.
Madam Sirleaf said:” Rape has always been a problem and a national embarrassment, even before my administration.”
The former President said: “Given the increase in the number of rape cases, it was necessary for women, girls and young men to peace fully assemble to draw the attention of Government.”
She addressed reporters Thursday, August 27, 2020, after meeting with protesters opposite her residence, at the Fish Market in Sinkor.
Former President Sirleaf urged young and older men to stand long with women, to end the culture of rape in the Country.
In a related development, a three-day nationwide protest against rape has ended in Bong, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Maryland Counties.
The group, Affiliation of Women and Child Rights Advocates, have petitioned the National Legislature and the United States Embassy near Monrovia.
They want the Government of Liberia and international partners take action to end rape and impunity in the Country.
In their petition, the protesters called on Government to declare rape as national emergency, and ensure the speedy trial of rape and other SGBV cases.
The protesters also recommended castration and life imprisonment of perpetrators of rape.
A Gender Ministry statistics showed over nine-hundred-fifty-eight rape cases have been reported since February this year, with a small number of perpetrators arrested and persecuted.