Liberia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., says the Government of Liberia remains resolute in its ownership and leadership of the security and welfare of the State and its people; including women.
Addressing the United Nations Security Council High-level Open Debate on "Women, Peace and Security: sexual violence in conflict" on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, Ambassador Kemayah said the Government through its new development framework, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), aims to sustain peace and promote social cohesion, through increased participation of women in every field; an action that will help to address the root causes of sexual violence.
Ambassador Kemayah expressed that the Government is greatly concerned about incidents of sexual violence in the country-- a persistent remnant of the many years of conflict in Liberia, and assured the United Nations Security Council that the Government is committed to addressing issues of impunity and accountability which impede deterrence and prevention.
As evidence of its commitment, Ambassador Kemayah disclosed that the Government of Liberia under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah is poised to adopt the second National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, and garner budgetary support for its implementation; and establish Gender Units in nine (9) Ministries and Agencies to ensure effective mainstreaming of gender into the institutional frameworks of the entities.
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, Ambassador Kemayah asserted that the Executive will lobby and enhance collaboration with the National Legislature to ratify the Optional Protocol on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and pass the Domestic Violence Bill into law.
The Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations also spoke of plans to reconstitute the national and county steering committees to promote the localization of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325; to effectively raise awareness and improve the national implementation of the resolution. UN Security Council Resolution 1325 among others, urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts; and calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict.
Speaking earlier at a related High-Level Commitments Event on Women, Peace and Security, in preparation for the Twentieth (20th) Anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Ambassador Kemayah said the Government of Liberia was committed to providing by September 2020, economic empowerment to Four thousand (4,000) rural women through social cash transfer and business development; skills training for Three thousand (3,000) adolescent girls; and increase access to land ownership for Three Thousand (3000) women; especially in rural communities.
Ambassador Kemayah then hailed the current role of the 'Peace Huts' in addressing issues of 'women, peace and security' in Liberia. "Until now, the iconic Peace Huts remain a potent traditional mechanism for conflict mediation and resolution; and early warning systems. Funding from the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) has also supported the strengthening of negotiation and mediation skills of participants. Dialogues in Community Peace huts have focused on issues related to sexual and gender-based violence, drug abuse, education, land disputes, health services, and illegal movements at the borders." Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.
Stressing that combating sexual violence requires a collaborative, multi-stakeholder and a multi-sectoral approach, Ambassador Kemayah explained that the Government of Liberia, with support from the Peace Building Fund (PBF) is collaborating with UN Women, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); to implement initiatives that promote women’s empowerment; youth political engagement; justice and human rights; as well as Peaceful management of concession-related conflicts. "With the immeasurable and unrelenting contributions of Liberia’s Feminist-In-Chief, His Excellency, President George Manneh Weah; we count on the continued and full support of the United Nations and our international partners to make these Commitments a reality." Ambassador Kemayah concluded.
His Excellency António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, Ms. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Amal Clooney, International Human Rights Lawyer, and 2018 Nobel Laureates Mr. Denis Mukwege Mukengere and Ms. Nadia Murad also addressed the Security Council Open Debate; highlighting the horrific nature of sexual violence, while calling for stronger preventive measures and justice for the victims.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday passed a new resolution on "Women, Peace and Security: sexual violence in conflict". Co-sponsored by the Republic of Liberia, UNSC Resolution 2467 supports measures to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and calls on all United Nations Member States to support victims through better access to justice, medical and psychological assistance, and reintegration into society.
The Security Council Open Debate on Women Peace and Security: sexual violence in conflict " comes in a year that marks the Tenth (10th) anniversary of the establishment of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict pursuant to Council resolution 1888 (2009), and aimed to examine some of the root causes of sexual violence in armed conflict and post-conflict situations; including deeply entrenched gender inequality and discriminatory perceptions of gender roles, which contribute to the disproportionate effect of conflict on women and girls.