Liberia: Days After Anti-Rape Protest, Govt. Unveils US$6M Road Map to Curb SGVB by 2022

The plan calls for the establishment of One-Stop Centers in nine counties; a Long-term operationalization of Safe Homes and referral hospitals, including mandatory Post Exposure Prophylaxis(PEP) treatments and emergency contraception for survivors) and the Call Center for reporting and referrals and the procurement of two DNA machines with accessories among others.

Congo Town – President George Mannah Weah says the fight to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Liberia must be done holistically and void of politics.

Speaking Monday, at the Ministerial Complex, when the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Anti-SGBV presented to him a road map on Curbing SGBV in Liberia, President Weah said, if the process is not politicized and void of favor, the fight in making rape and other forms of SGBV cases will become zero while perpetrators will be brought to justice.

“I want those responsible to work on this document so that things can work well for our children to be free to move around their communities,” President Weah said.

The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce against SGBV includes the Ministries of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Health Justice, Internal Affairs, Education, Labor and Information.

The road map presentation comes just days after anti-rape protesters staged a three-day protest in a bid to draw government’s attention to the rising wave of rape cases in the country.

The President said it is a good thing that everyone is concerned about the rape issue but noted that it did not augur well for petitioners against the increase in rape cases to disrespect his representation who had gone to receive their qualms.

“I have other principal deputies who I instructed to receive the petition, but they refused to present it, but went to others and present it to their representation there. You cannot present a petition to your President but chose to give it to others. Well, if that is okay, then that’s it,” President Weah stressed.

The President, however, noted that he is taking the document presented to him by the task force for review and will later present it to relevant institutions responsible for its enforcement.

The roadmap will serve as a working tool to address all forms of sexual and Gender-Based Violence within short, medium and long term, from September 2020 to September 2022.

The roadmap among other things proposes the operationalization of the current DNA machine Provision of subsidies to private facilities that operates OSCs, ensuring  the provision of a standardized package of care (Free services for other underlining health conditions) for SGBV survivors across all One Stop Centers and Integrating national public awareness campaign into state radio and community radio programming including information on women and children’s rights under laws, information on national referral pathway and related services.

The roadmap also calls for the Establishment  and operationalizing of a joint-security taskforce on SGBV

Provide logistical support, mobility and accessories for security sector actors (LNP, LIS, LDEA, SGBV & Secretariat) to respond to SGBV and TIP.

Additionally, the roadmap calls for capacity building for relevant section/unit (Research & Planning, WACPS, “SGBV Response Unit”, including enhancement of LNP forensic capacity in SGBV investigation

Development of software for security-sector related SGBV data collection, compilation, analysis and storage for central SGBV database.

The roadmap also calls for the conducting of a nation-wide community engagements on Harmful  Traditional Practices and conducting of  awareness and sensitization through traditional and community structures on harmful traditional practices.

Speaking with reporters right after the meeting with President Weah, Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister Piso Saydee Tarr said the roadmap is geared at guiding future investment on rape and other forms of rape and to provide transparent strategic framework, so that key decisions can be made on addressing issues of SGBV cases by 2022.

According to Minister Tarr, the document stands to change the current dynamics of SGBV issues to a new trend, through an effective-funded prevention and response to end such menace.

“With every stakeholders action, we are certain that local strategies to prevent this menace and other harmful traditional practices will be enforced,” Minister Tarr averred.

She expressed the anti-SGBV Taskforce optimism to ensure that women, girls and other vulnerable people at risk and abuse will have increase access to information, protection and special services by 2022.

In the same way, Minister Tarr maintained that the taskforce will remains committed to demonstrate inter-sectorial partnership that is effective and accountable towards anti-SGBV fight in a functional and well-coordinated way.

For his part, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe has called for collaborative effort that must include all sectors in eradicating SGBV cases in Liberia.

“We appreciate the citizens who came on the street to create the awareness and now is the time that all those interested in this issue come around the table to work on these issues,” Minister Nagbe said.

Minister Nagbe noted that the government is not taking this the fight against rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence lightly.

Because of this, he further stated that the government is putting a lot of resources in to tackle rape cases.