MONROVIA – Women’s Rights Organizations have Called on President George Manneh Weah to set a high standard for public officials in the country.
The organizations stressed that the government should implement several recommendations to prevent rape by officials.
They made the statement Tuesday in Monrovia.
“We are concerned over video news reports emanating from the South Korean media involving two Liberian officials, Daniel Tarr and Moses Owen Browne, who had gone to South Korea to participate in the Sustainable Maritime Transport Training Program for Least Developed Countries. In the shared news video, translations of the news at the bottom of the news reads “Foreigners attending an international event in Busan have been arrested on charges of sexuality assaulting a teenage girl.”they added.
According to them, the reports then cuts to a video in which a man in uniform identifies himself as police and asking persons inside to open the door and the screams of women from inside can also be heard from the video.
“It was later reported that after a long standoff, the door finally opened and two men identified as the above named individuals were detained” they noted.
They said two teenage girls were also reportedly rescued at 11pm. While the Liberia Maritime Authority has issued a statement noting that they will cooperate with the South Korean police; and the Ministry of Gender has issued a statement calling for administrative action to be taken against the officials.
“We call on the two institutions to go further by ensuring that the two individuals are dismissed including taking actions against all government officials that have been accused of rape until due process can be done” they asserted.
They maintained that the actions of the two individuals are not only unpatriotic and shameful, but also disrespectful, disgraceful and embarrassing for a Representative of the Liberian government to portray himself in such manner.
” President Weah is on record for referring to himself uncountable times as the feminist in Chief and has made countless statements calling for an end to SGBV, and supporting the development of the Roadmap. Yet, for all his verbal commitments, women and girls of Liberia are yet to see the system work in support of women and girls; we are yet to see the President ensure accountability of highly placed individuals in his government who have been accused of rape and we are yet to see the government come up with a statement condemning the unwholesome behavior of two highly placed officials in the government” they lamented.
“We recall in September 2020, when Mr. Dee Maxwell Kemayah was accused of sexual harassment by a staff within his office, women rights activists called on the President and the legislators not to confirm that individual until he was cleared of allegations of sexual harassment, those pleas fell on deaf ears as today, Mr. Kemayah is the Minister of Foreign Affairs” they indicated.
They pointed out that If the Foreign Ministry must be the entity to spearhead this effort. Of course, with sexual harrassment charges still pending for the Minister, how credible can the Ministry and the Government itself be viewed on the world stage.
According to them, In 2020, a member of the Special Security Unit, Mr. Joseph Jakey Brown, commissioned to Gbarpolu to safeguard the peace ended up with allegations of rape and torture during the Gbarpolu elections. He remains a trusted member of the security network to this date.
“We call on the Government and President Weah to demonstrate accountability for gender equality by taking the following actions:end impunity by holding government officials and all those who have proximity to power including Mr. Kemayah accountable for sexual allegations by dismissing them from their posts and ensuring that they go through due processes before ensure that the sexual offender’s registry is set up to ensure that the Ministry of Gender set up not only Domestic Violence Fund to support victims of abuse but also a fund to support timely access to justice, invest in the Referral Pathway and provide periodic public report on the implementation of the SGBV roadmap.
Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) Network of Peace and Security Women in ECOWAS Countries (NOPSWECO) issued this statement.