MONROVIA: As Liberian women join other women groups around the world to celebrate International Women Day, the Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), an umbrella organization of women groups across Liberia, has expressed its deepest concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leading to alarming humanitarian crisis.
WONGOSOL Executive Director Madam Esther S. Davis Yango stated that no one should undergo such violence.
The Liberian women group strongly condemned the violence against unarmed civilians especially women and children by Russia.
She describes such acts being committed against women and children as “inhumane, barbaric and unwarranted.”
“We the women of Liberia therefore call on all parties to lay down their arms in the interest of peace. Our hearts and prayers are out for the people of Ukraine and the entire European Union. The women of Liberia will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine as the violation of one woman’s right is a violation to all women,” the group said.
Meanwhile, WONGOSOL has strongly called on President George Manneh Weah and his administration to decisively address the alarming rise of acts of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence against women in the country.
WONGOSOL boss, Madam Davis Yango, pointed out that while women strive to break all barriers and set the stage for Gender Equality in Liberia, they are bringing to the attention of President Weah the alarming rise in the occurrences of RAPE in Liberia.
“We are living in fear of violation on a daily basis. We need more robust and drastic approach to end Sexual and Gender-Based Violence,” she stressed.
Speaking recently at program marking the observance of International Women’s Day in Monrovia, the WONGOSOL Executive Director asserted: “We need stronger Laws, the establishment of Criminal Court “E “in the 15 counties for access to fair and speedy trial of GBV cases which would serve as a deterrence, harsher punishments and more awareness raising.”
She further asserted that in order to end the culture of impunity in Liberia, the government must commit to the implementation of the recommendations as contained in the Final report of the erstwhile Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
According to her as Liberians gear up for 2023 elections, women are reminding President Weah about the TRC recommendations, with specific emphasis on section 14.3 which highlights the List of Persons Subject to/Recommended for Public Sanctions including all those associated with former warring factions, their leaders, political decision makers, financiers, organizers, commanders, foot soldiers shall be subject to public sanctions in one form or another.
She said the list as contains in the TRC report as it relates to political leaders and financiers of different warring factions is by no means exhaustive.
“All other persons similarly situated shall be subject to public sanctions as herein described above in section 14.2 and specifically barred from holding public offices; elected or appointed for a period of thirty (30) years,” she said.
Madam Davis Yango expressed the belief that, there are still efforts that need collective and constructive engagement to break all barriers and promote Gender Equality.
She stressed that in Liberia, most women still suffer from gender inequality in both rural and urban communities.
“Some men in our country, even here today, still support Gender Inequality-but we challenge them to go beyond that limit and make our country proud,” she further said.
According to the women leader, Gender Equality promotes women’s development and helps to develop a country.
“When Women are Promoted, Families are Liberated, Homes Flourished,” she emphasized.
“We Must stand together to break all barriers and promote gender equality. We will continue to remind you about the negativism surrounding gender inequality – the only Space that we have in our country is to promote Gender Equality,” Madam Davis Yango noted .
She added that Liberian women recognize and appreciate the effort of President Weah and the Government to increase women in his cabinet.
To President Weah, the women group said: “In so doing, we applaud you for appointing four (4) women as ministers under your leadership but we will not hesitate to let you know that this number is way below the threshold and doesn’t correspond with your own declaration as “Feminist-In-Chief.”
“We feel that we are being toyed with and we would like to remind you that the women of Liberia constitute slightly over 49% of the population,” she noted.
She, at the same time, lauded the women of Liberia for their tireless efforts and all the works that they have done over the years and in reminding “our government and development partners to help in the fight of breaking barriers to achieve Gender Equality, to ensure that women are promoted.”
She then challenged Liberian women “to keep fighting until we reach our goals, doing so through constructive engagements and dialogue with all relevant authorities until we succeed.”
“The road to breaking the barriers and setting the stage for Gender Equality is Constructive Engagement and Dialogue,” she emphasized.
“We used it to bring peace to Liberia, and we will use it to break the barriers and set the stage for Gender Equality,” she noted.
In a related development, the women leader used the occasion to applaud the passing of the New Elections Law, especially Section 4.5 which gives women the right of 30% quota on all political party listings by the House of Representatives.
The WONGOSOL Executive Director also extended thanks to Liberia’s development partners for their support for this worthy cause.”
She, however, indicated that Liberian women look forward to the Senate, the Upper House of Liberia’s bicameral Legislature, to concur with the Lower House in the best interest of women.
She made the commendations recently at program marking this year’s observance of International Women’s Day in Monrovia.
“Today, we have gathered again to bear witness to our collective commitment and efforts, to support Gender Equality in our everyday lives, workplaces, homes, environment, country, and the world at large, I want to thank everyone who sat with us last year on this same date, and committed to supporting gender equality,” she stressed.
She spoke on the Theme: “Liberian Women in History: Breaking Barriers & Setting the Stage for Gender Equality.”