ORWOCH Conducts Training To Address Violence Against Women In Politics

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The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) on February 9—10 conducted a two-day regional training for rule-of-law professionals and those critical to service delivery to build their capacity on the standard operating procedures for addressing violence against women in politics and understand the processes by which indigent women and disadvantaged persons may apply for legal aid.

   Addressing the participants, Grand Bassa Superintendent, Janjay Baikpeh, encouraged the participants to ensure justice for women and other disadvantaged groups during the upcoming elections. He noted that access to justice is the key to ensuring women and other disadvantaged groups, whose rights are limited, is adequately addressed and that there was no one better suited to address that issue than lawyers, prosecutors, the chiefs and those who were in the room.

   Speaking at the program, Sainforh Wisseh, MEAL Manager at ORWOCH, noted that it was important for prosecutors and rule of law actors to treat the VAWIE as both a crime and a form of discrimination. She also noted that gender stereotyping may improperly influence prosecutors’ decision whether or not to prosecute a case involving VAWIE/P.  She cautioned rule-of-law actors not to base their professional decisions on stereotyped notions of who is a “real victim” or what the “appropriate behavior” of a victim of violence should be.

   The program was held in Grand Bassa and comprised 60 participants from Montserrado, Rivercess, Sinoe and Grand Bassa. The SOP for VAWIE was drafted by ORWOCH to bridge the gaps in addressing violence against women in politics by defining how, where and by whom the legal aid will be provided, according to a clear referral pathway for the provision of legal services and legal aid to women and disadvantaged groups experiencing VAWIE/P. The project, titled, “Promoting Inclusive Political Participation and Elimination of Violence against Women in Politics”, is being supported by the UN Secretary General’s Peace Building Fund, in partnership with UN Women and UNDP, with funding from the SIDA and Irish Aid.

   The trainings is the first of three regional trainings that will be conducted around the country.

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