Sexual Violence and Justice in Liberia

sex1OXFORD – Martha’s daughter was only 12 years old when a group of men raped her in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. The police arrested one of the attackers, but did not refer the case for prosecution – an outcome that, Martha believes, had a lot to do with her inability to pay the unauthorized “processing fee” that some police officers impose on rape victims and their families.

Martha’s story is far from unique. In fact, most victims of rape and domestic violence in Liberia struggle to get justice. And with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) winding down, the situation may be about to get even worse.

As poor political leadership worldwide incites new dangers, Dani Rodrik, Nina Khrushcheva, Kemal Derviş, and other Project Syndicate contributors ask whether there’s a way back that leads forward.

When UNMIL was initiated in 2003, Liberia had just emerged from a brutal 14-year civil war, during which physical and sexual violence against women was rampant. Over the last 13 years, the mission has played a key role in preserving peace, supporting reconstruction, and advancing critical social goals, including improving women’s access to justice. Support from UNMIL and other international partners enabled the Liberian government to establish several specialized criminal justice agencies, including the Women and Children Protection Section of the Liberian National Police (LNP) and a court dedicated to prosecuting sex crimes.

Culled from Project Syndicate Read More

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About Cholo Brooks 14304 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.