President Weah declares Rape and all forms of SGBV as a National Emergency

His Excellency President George Manneh Weah
His Excellency President George Manneh Weah
Photo Credit: Public Affairs

His Excellency President George Manneh Weah has issued a proclamation declaring Rape and all forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence as a National Emergency.

 

The Proclamation comes in wake of the continuous increase of rape and sexual and gender based violence cases  in most parts of Liberia, even though the rape law seeks to serve as a deterrent, to would-be violators.

 

According to a Foreign Ministry release, an act to amend the new Penal Code Chapter 14 sections 14.70 and 14.71 to provide for Gang rape” was enacted by the legislature, approved by the president on December 29, 2005 and published into handbills on January 17, 2006.

 

Despite the existence of the current rape Law and all legal and administrative efforts to stamp out rape, the menace has become even more prevalent around the country, leading to SGBV stakeholders calling on national policy makers to take action, such as strengthening the existing rape laws and taking stringent actions against perpetrators of rape

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Been cognizant that rape causes serious physical and psychological pain, the President of Liberia His Excellence President George Manneh Weah, established the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Sexual and Gender Based Violence  in response to the scourge of rape and other forms of sexual and gender based violence( SGBV) perpetrated mostly against women, girls, boys and other vulnerable people in Liberia.

 

As a consequence, the National Anti-rape and Sexual and Gender Based Violence ( SGBV) conference was held at the Ministerial  Complex from September 8-9, 2020 to address issues of rape and other forms of SGBV.

 

The Inter-Ministerial Task Force on SGBV set up by the President submitted a document entitled “Government of Liberia and Partners Anti-SGBV Roadmap (2020-2022)”at the end of a special cabinet meeting convened, amongst other things to receive the roadmap document.

 

According to the Proclamation, the Roadmap shall serve as a working tool to address all forms of rape and other sexual and gender based violence within the short, medium and long terms, from September 2020 to September 2022.

 

Under the National Rape Emergency, President Weah has hereby announced the Following initial measures:(1)The Appointment of a Special Prosecutor for rape (2)The Constitution of a National Sex Offenders Registry (3) The Establishment of a National Security Task Force on SGBV and (4) The allotment of USD 2 million, representing Government’s initial contribution to the Special Fund on SGBV to strengthen and beef up the fight against rape and all forms of SGBV.

 

Meanwhile, additional measures in the fight against rape will be announced subsequently, including the issuance of an Executive Order, aimed at protecting the vulnerable and banning harmful traditional practices.

 

“My Administration will spare no effort in ensuring that the epidemic of rape and all forms of SGBV is curtailed in Liberia. I therefore, urge all Liberians, activists, advocates, along with local and international stakeholders, to work with the government in defeating the scourge of rape in our country” the president noted.