In a statement released Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Commission called onPresident George MannehWeah, who declared himself as “Feminist in Chief” and First Lady ClarWeah who this year launched the “She is You” campaign to protect the rights of women and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor to take special measures to guarantee that the rights of women are protected at all cost.
The Commission observed that several cases of violence against women in Liberia are going with impunity, stressing that the government needs to attach serious attention to these cases.
“The JPC is troubled that state actors are gradually losing the fight against sexual and gender based violence in Liberia. The “One Stop” centers established by government to serve as first contact points are reporting more cases but less number of these cases are being sent to court. In Margibi County, for the first six months of 2019, more than 40 SGBV cases were reported at the One Stop Center or health facilities. Out of the 40 cases, only 4 of the cases made it to court. The question then remains, “What is happening to these cases?” Are they getting lost or being compromised,” JPC noted.
JPC also called on the Liberia National Police to exercise all level of neutrality as the protecting arms of the state.
“The JPC believes that the Liberia National Police must not just be perceived as being neutral, but must be neutral. While the JPC condemns all forms of electoral violence, but the failure of the LNP exhibit neutrality the violence acts on July 27 at the close of final campaign in Logan Town, on August 13 at the headquarters of theNational Elections Commission(NEC) during the final hearing of electoral disputes of alleged electoral fraud and August 17, when Telia Urey and team were stoned, was absolutely despicable,” JPC furthered.
“In recent times, the JPC is concerned that the crime rate in Liberia has increased and the trend isdisturbing . Many communities especially in and around Monrovia have been tagged as “no-go zones” at certain hours of the night as young men with cutlasses, knives and other deadly weapons roam freely attacking peaceful residents. Many people are now observing self-imposed curfews. The main culprits of these criminal acts are often young people influenced by illicit drugs which are liberally found on our streets and communities. We have raised the issue in our last two quarterly situation reports but there has been no effort on the part of central government to clamp down on the trafficking and use of illicit drugs in Liberia,” the statement added.
The JPC statement comes on the heels of growing waves of violence and unlawful acts in across the country.
It could be recalled that Student Odell Sherman, a 12th grade student of the Harriet Bailey United Methodist High School was found dead in the compound of the founder of the charity Afelait Reverend Emmanuel Giddings on the morning of Tuesday, May 22 in Duazohn, Margibi County, where she had gone on that fateful evening with her friend to celebrate the end of the West African Senior School Certificate Exam (WASSCE).
Furthermore, on August 27, 2019, a 17-year old girl identified as FatuTogba was found dead near an unfinished building at the back of the Liberia National Police Depot in Virginia. She was believed to have been raped and murdered. Since then, no one has been arrested in the reported death of Odell Sherman and FatuTogba.
These, plus many other cases, the Catholic Commission wants government to speedy conduct a painstaking investigation to bring would be perpetrator to book.