H.E. President George M. Weah Launches Liberia's First Anti-SGBV Conference
Liberia's Chief Feminist, H.E. President George Manneh Weah, on Tuesday, September 8, launched the country's first Anti- Sexual and Gender-Based Violence National Conference with a reassurance that his government remains relentlessly committed in reducing and eradicating all forms of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the nation.
President Weah also welcoming participants at the opening ceremony of the historic gathering, said: "This urgent call to action is in response to an alarming increase in rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in recent times, especially during a time when we are at war with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic."
The meeting i beings convened under the theme: “A National Call To Action: Inclusive Involvement to Fight Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia”.
"We are in fact witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country," the Liberian leader added.
The Liberian President further said: "This National Conference is therefore being convened out of my Government’s grave concern about the unprecedented recent surge of this evil scourge, which is a follow-up to a Special High-Level Meeting which I called last July to discuss the status of rape and other Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases in the country."
"During that meeting, I appointed an Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, with a mandate to engage all stakeholders to discuss, consult and develop a Roadmap on enhancing the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. Subsequently, the Roadmap was completed in the shortest possible time and presented to my Government," President Weah.
President Weah further emphasized that the aim and purpose of the National Conference, was to rally all Sexual and Gender-Based Violence stakeholders to discuss openly and contribute collectively to determine the best practices and procedures that would enable us to bring an end of rape and other forms of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Liberia.
At the end of the Conference, the President indicated that these proposals will be taken into account and serve as a validation of the “Government of Liberia & Partners’ Roadmap on Ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence 2020-2022”.
"Following the review of this Roadmap over the next two days of our deliberations, the Government plans to achieve effective results by adopting a new approach to addressing the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence-prevention process across all sectors, which will be characterized by adequately-funded prevention and response mechanisms."
The President stated further that the expectation, is that at the end of this Conference, the Roadmap will be fully inclusive of every possible thought we have on fighting this menace to our society, with the objective of improving our coordinated national response.
"With the adoption of these strategies, we are hopeful that we will be able to improve and strengthen the enforcement of existing legislation, policies and standards that support the prevention and response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, thereby reducing the incidence of rape, child marriage, and female genital mutilation, amongst others."
President Weah additionally ensured the women, girls, boys and other vulnerable people at risk of abuse in the society that they will have increased access to information, protection and specialized services.