THE NEWS regarding the involvement of Liberian officials – holders of Liberian diplomatic passports – being involved in rape in South Korea is one that brings shame to every Liberian, whether home or abroad.
THE FREQUENCY of rape in Liberia is alarming and the fight against it has been very daunting – overwhelming all agencies responsible to curtail it and ensure justice is served.
IN 2020, President George Weah declared rape a national emergency and ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases.
HIS DECLARATION was after thousands of Liberians protested against the rising incidents of rape in Monrovia to draw attention to the alarming frequency of sexual assault.
PRESIDENT WEAH promised to install a special prosecutor for rape as well as set up a national sex offender registry.
HE ALSO SET up a national security task force on sexual and gender-based violence.
THESE ARE COMMENDABLE efforts by President Weah who prides himself as Liberia’s Feminist-in-Chief. But all these efforts are meaningless when Liberians do not see real concrete actions being taken against perpetrators of rape.
AT HIS RECENT speech at the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, President Weah also iterated his stance against gender-based violence, while stressing that his government is working assiduously through legislation to stop harmful practices against women.
AT THE HEELS of this, two officials of his government and representatives of the country have been held for rape while on a three-day training in South Korea.
MOSES OWEN BROWNE, Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IOM), and Daniel Tarr, Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection, allegedly raped two Korean girls reportedly aged 14 and 16.
WE COMMEND the Liberia Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection for their swift condemnation of the act should it be true and the reiteration of their zero-tolerance of rape.
HOWEVER, it is our hope that this would not be treated as business as usual.
President Weah must exhibit his truthfulness and seriousness in the fight against rape and the preservation of Liberia’s international image.
THE TWO LIBERIAN officials must be dismissed for they have the image of the country to public disrepute.
BEING ON AN international assignment for the country is a privilege that must be held in high esteem.
WE EXPECT that officials of government must be very conversant with the President’s stance on rape and must be guided by that stance at all times. They must uphold very high moral standards and values at all times no matter where they find themselves.
THE ALLEGATION of rape against these officials must not be taken lightly by President Weah for doing so would only be showing the world his insensitivity towards violence against women and his acceptance of impunity on rape and other gender-based violence issues.