Liberia: Spotlight Initiative Supports WOSI to Create Awareness and Consultation on Rape, Domestic Violence and inheritance Laws in Lofa and Nimba Counties

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Lofa and Nimba Counties – The Women Solidarity Incorporated (WOSI) in collaboration with Spotlight Initiative has carried out awareness on several gender-related laws in Lofa and Nimba Counties under its Strengthen Awareness On Legal Framework Related To Women And Girls project.

The project aims to help women gain access to justice, especially in remote communities in the four counties including Lofa, Nimba, Grand Capemount and Monsterrado counties.

The project was also designed for the purpose of creating awareness and consulting stakeholders in remote and inaccessible areas in rural Liberia about the laws as well as increase their understanding, access and utilization of the laws.

The recent outreach in Lofa and Nimba was intended to create awareness and consultation on rape, domestic violence and inheritance laws.

Describing rape as violent, barbaric and wicked,WOSI executive director, Caroline Armah, said all hands must be on deck to put stop to this ungodly act of rape in the society. “It is becoming worrisome and it must involve everyone,” she said.

Armah made the call following the end of an eight-day meeting on awareness, consultative meetings, and recommendations validation and harmonization activity on the simplified rape, inheritance and domestic violence laws in four communities in Nimba County– namely: Gbanla, Mehnpa, Zoeluapa and Boweh towns and six communities in Lofa County– namely:  Tinsue, Telemu, Gbanway, Salayea, Telemai and Yarpuah.

The consultative meetings with stakeholders including women, men and youths were aimed discussing a much more simplified version of rape, domestic violence and inheritance laws of Liberia.

The project is divided into five steps, namely: partners’ orientation and road map development, simplification and validation of the rape, domestic violence, and inheritance laws, printing and distribution of these laws, stakeholders’ consultative awareness, harmonization and validation of the recommendations from the consultative meetings.

Armah said while the existence of these laws are an important step towards eliminating Sexual, Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), it is still on the rise and more women and girls become victims to it regularly.

Such a situation, she said, is not only related to   the possible inadequacy of the law of the law and as such but also to the lack of implementation and a subordinate role given to women by society. “The effects of these laws or policies have not been felt by those for whom they were formulated,” she said. The issue about gender-based violence is on the increase daily and it is no strange news to everyone. As a women rights advocacy institution, we believe our people should be part of the solution process.”

The project is also targeting at least 600 community stakeholders (with women making up to 50 per cent of the number) from rural communities, who will be educated about the legislations on violence against women children. “The project seeks to mobilize stakeholders’ recommendations in promulgation and utilization of national women’s rights legal instrument and empower them to make informed decisions on whether or not to use these laws to obtain justice,” she said.

Residents of participating towns praised Women Solidarity Incorporated for conducting the workshop and said it has broadened their knowledge on key laws about SGBV. Some vowed to take the campaign against SGBV, particularly in the wake of how rape cases in the country have tripled.

The participants were grateful that the program was brought to them and they encouraged the Women Solidarity Incorporated to extend the program to other parts of Nimba and Lofa Counties. They included that these information are really needed by their eole in the other villages. 

This is being made possible with support from the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) and funding from the European Union under the spotlight initiative. With significant contributions from partners at the Law Reform Commission, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Gender, children and Social Protection, the Independent Human Rights Commission, and the project legal consultant from the International Law Group.

The last paragraph should be read as: This is being made possible with support from the Spotlight Initiative, an EU-UN global partnership to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

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