Liberia: UNFPA Lauds Government for Developing Proposed Anti-FGM Law


MONROVIA – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has congratulated the Government of Liberia including the Executive and the Legislature for the ‘excellent’ steps taken in developing the proposed anti-Female genital mutilation (FGM) law consistent with International Human Rights instruments.

The draft act is entitled “An Act Prohibiting Female Genital Mutilation 2022” and is calling for an end to FGM by criminalizing the harmful traditional practice across Liberia. It was submitted by Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa and is currently before the relevant House’s Committee for review and recommendations.

In a statement containing UNFPA’s feedback following a ‘thorough’ review of the bill, the UN agency said the proposed law is in line with global progressive direction and practice.

According to UNFPA, the bill aligns with international human rights mechanisms and addresses often-overlooked emerging issues such as cross-border FGM (extra-territorial jurisdiction) and medicalization of FGM.

UNFPA said: “The bill aligns with FGM legislation from other countries in the West and Central Africa region, with similar penalties and provisions. This demonstrates the Liberia determination not to be left behind by like-minded progressive countries that have championed gender equality and human rights and dignity for all.”

Continuing, the UN Agency said, “Overall, this is a well-drafted bill that covers all the crucial areas that need to be addressed. UNFPA encourages the government to take the process forward.”

The agency added that it stands ready to provide support for implementation of the Act in line with existing commitments to Liberia women and girls’ health and wellbeing.

FGM has been internationally recognized as a violation of the rights, health and integrity of women and girls; constituting both a result and a perpetuation of gender inequality and discrimination against women and girls, harming their lives in many ways.

The global consensus on the need to eliminate all forms of FGM worldwide is clearly reflected in Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 and in several United Nations Resolutions.