Local chiefs, elders recommend castration and execution for rapists

arrested-in-handcuffsIn an effort to discourage the evil act of rape frequently committed in the Liberian society, delegates at the just-ended National Consultation on Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Peace-Building have recommended castration and execution for those found guilty of the act.

More than 200 traditional chiefs and elders, including women groups and women in leadership, crafted a resolution to be presented to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in which they agreed that the government amend the law on rape to allow for castration of convicts.

They lamented that a harsher punishment must be put in place for would be rapists to deter people from carrying out the act victimizing women, especially young girls.

The traditional chiefs also recommended a five-year jail sentence for anyone who compromises rape case.

The chiefs at the conference also agreed that regular meetings be convened to discuss societal issues to avert these unwarranted acts that pose threats to the well being of citizens.

The forum was sponsored by The Carter Center in partnership with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The stakeholders, including Ministry of Internal Affairs, Carter Center, National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, UNMIL and women leaders took the decision at the close of a three-day conference held in Gbarnga recently.

At the conference, the stakeholders discussed the prevalence of domestic violence, especially rape, land tenure and elections.

“Why should our women and small girls be raped every day by heartless men and go unpunished with some dying in the process, the chiefs and elders lamented in a frustrated tone”

Rape remains one of the most frequently reported crimes in Liberia, according to Liberia’s Ministry of Gender and Development, and the incidence of sexual violence against women in Liberia is among the highest in the world.

Speaking on the issue of rape and other domestic violence, Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), Asatu Kenneth warned women against compromising rape.

Meanwhile, some women attending the conference said the issue of land is also causing problem for many of them in the rural areas as their tribal, customary and ancestral lands they got from their forefathers are being claimed by authorities.

At the same time, some chiefs and women at the conference expressed concern over the citizenship of their children by foreigners and other issues pertaining to acquiring citizenship in Liberia as some challenges they are being faced with.

Carter Center Chief of Party, Pewee Flomoku, in an interview with reporters  following the close of the conference thanked UNMIL for making the program a success and pledged Carter Center’s continued support for women rights and the sustainability of peace in Liberia.

Also speaking, UNMIL Deputy SRSG for Rule of Law, Wladimar Vrey said there is need to address issues of violence against women and girls, especially rape.

He lauded the participants for discussing things that affect women in Liberia.

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About Cholo Brooks 13149 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.