FOHRD Steps Up Anti-Rape Advocacy

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Frantic efforts are being exerted by the Foundation for Human Rights Defense International (FOHRD) and stakeholders for the establishment of an independent National Anti-Rape Commission for Liberia, in the wake of rampant cases of rape against minors (babies), women and girls across the country.

   As part of its advocacy against the tales of rape cases against innocent children, minors, girls and women in Monrovia and other parts of the nation, stepped up by the Foundation for Human Rights Defense International, the group on Thursday of last week held a one-day consultative forum with stakeholders for the establishment of an Independent National Anti-Rape Commission for Liberia.

   FOHRD’s consultative forum with stakeholders, convened in the auditorium of the G.W. Gibson High School, Capitol By-Pass in Monrovia, was attended by human rights advocates and activists representing the Federation of Liberia Youth (FLY), Nimba Women Network, Liberian New Hope Foundation and FIND as well as the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Peace and Development Outreach Volunteers, Liberia Children Parliament, National Traditional Council of Liberia and Generational Thinkers, YWCA and Messengers for Peace.

   Earlier on, FOHRD’s communications advocate, Alaskai Moore Johnson, in introductory remarks informed newsmen that the move by the entity organizing the one-day consultative forum with stakeholders for the establishment of an Independent National Anti-Rape Commission for Liberia “is a proposed idea. We want to synchronize the fight against rape under one umbrella,” Johnson noted. “From FOHRD’s perspective, when all peoples can be treated without any form of social, political, racial or religious discrimination under the rule of law, when there exists a system that respects human values and those who violate the law are prosecuted in a balanced Judiciary system and given a merited reward, then justice and equality exist.”

   The exposé by FOHRD’s communications advocate was a specific reference to the establishment of the proposed Independent National Anti-Rape Commission for Liberia to delve into cases of rape, wherein the proposed commission would function independently, and in keeping with the rule of law.

   According to him, the second phase of FOHRD anti-rape advocacy dialogue will bring together other state actors and public officials to crave their support for the establishment of the commission.

   During the FOHRD’s stakeholders forum, the participating institutions all pledged support toward the establishment of Liberia’s first independent National Anti-Rape Commission for Liberia, but from different perspectives. 

   As for FLY, it wants advocacy on rape well structured, takes a national stage and treated as a national emergency, thereby entreating FOHRD to seek to open a national conversation prior to the establishment of the anti-rape commission.

   Also, National Traditional Council of Liberia said rape has become a “hot cake” in Liberia in time passed and continues to put the lives of women, girls and babies under threat, and wants rapists turn over to the council. The council did not explain further.

   Another participating group at the forum, Messengers for Peace, noted, “Women, girls and boys are being emotionally and sexually abused.” They emphasized the need for the advocacy against rape to be strengthened across the nation.

   For their part, YWCA said they want the proposed Independent National Anti-Rape Commission, if created by law, to be allowed to probe cases of rape because, as they put it, the penalty for rapists is not stringent. They proposed that the commission be comprised of people with integrity and free of public/government interference.

   The Hot Pepper could not readily get the forum’s resolution as it went to press.

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