LIBERIA: Gender, Office of the First Lady, Nat’l GBV Taskforce and Partners Commemorate 16-Days of Activism

Liberia joins the rest of the World in commemoration of the 29th edition of the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, a global campaign originated from the first women’s global leadership institute dedicated to ending Gender Based Violence against women and girls from November 25th-December 10th.

These dates were chosen to emphasize that violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights and acknowledges the role of patriarchal systems that embody harmful traditional practices and legal policies that are silent on abuses against women and girls thereby denying women and girls their right to a life of dignity. The Campaign focuses on strategies by civil society groups, organizations and governments around the world to call for the elimination of all forms of Violence against women and girls.

This year’s observance marks Liberia’s 19th commemoration of the 16-Days of Activism since it was observed in 2001.

The 2020 campaign will be observed under the Global Theme: “End Gender Based Violence and Harassment in the World of Work!” National Theme: “Take Action to End Gender Based Violence and Harassment in Liberia!”

This is also aligned with the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), Pillar One: Power to the People, which highlights gender and equity as a strategy to eliminate Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and other social inequalities women and girls in particular.

Based on the theme of this year’s commemoration, the campaign reinforces the need to address the end of Gender Based Violence and harassment in Liberia especially among women workers and students who are normally harassed. This year’s  Campaign also want to ensure the protection of women, girls and marginalized groups particularly in areas of prevention of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), while promoting women’s political participation, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Equal Opportunities, among others.

During these 16 days, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and partners intend to: ensure massive nationwide awareness in almost all communities in the 15 counties of  Liberia to promote the concept of Preventing Gender Based Violence throughout the 16 days; advocate for the protection of women’s and girls’ rights in all sectors of the society through media engagement; engage more males and bring them on board to join the fight against GBV; strengthen community ownership in the fight to eradicate Gender- Based Violence; encourage society to acknowledge that violence against women and children is a societal problem and that failure to view it as such results in all efforts failing to eradicate it and re-emphasize the fact that the solution to ending GBV lies with all of us in Liberia.

According to the Ministry, Liberia has made meaningful gains towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls through the setup of comprehensive integrated response centers that caters to the medical, psychosocial and protection needs of  survivors; the strengthening of  the justice system to ensure fair and timely dispensation of justice across the country; strengthening the reporting and referral system in schools and communities and establishing a critical mass of religious and traditional leaders who serve as agents of change. Despite these gains, the country still faces serious challenges in ensuring that the human rights of its citizens especially women and girls are respected.

Gender assures massive awareness campaigns from November 25 to December 10, 2020 in almost all communities, churches, mosques, market places and schools throughout the country to educate the public on the prevention of Gender Based Violence especially sexual abuse and its effect on women and children in the society. CSOs, CBOs, Men’s groups, Youth groups, women groups, Children Forum, Religious and Traditional leaders and communities’ leaders will join the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in carrying out awareness in the communities in collaboration with the GBV Task Forces and Child Protection Networks in the 15 counties.

In an effort to ensure men and boys are brought around the table to be engaged on ways through which they can support the campaign to prevent GBV, an All Men Conference will be held during the 16 Days period.

This 16-day period also highlights other significant dates including: November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, November 29: International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, December 1: World AIDS Day, December 3: International Day of Disabled Persons, December 6: Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre and December 10: International Human Rights Day.

The Ministry pledges full collaboration with partners and requisite institutions in observing these significant dates.

Considering the presence of COVID-19, the Ministry has decided to do a virtual launch via zoom of the 16 days of activism on today, Wednesday, November 25, 2029.

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