President George Manneh Weah has disclosed that his government intends to conduct a comprehensive review of the body of laws in Liberia to highlight and eliminate portions that discriminate against women.

He pointed out that it is surprising to discover that discrimination against women is embedded within the laws of Liberia, including the Constitution, which runs contrary to his government’s effort to eliminate this menace.

 

President Weah cited the laws on marriage, divorce, property rights, child custody, and land ownership as containing clauses that marginalize women against men in Liberia.

Addressing the Annual European Day Summit in Brussels on Tuesday, monitored on live video, the Liberian leader said the measure is intended to complement existing actions and policies that have been taken by the government to curtail gender-based violence and other abuses against women.

He named the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Act; the establishment of the Women and Children Protection Sections within the Liberia National Police; the 2018 Executive Order on domestic violence, which places temporary ban on all forms violence against women, including

Female Genital Mutilation, as measures put in place by the government to curtail gender-based violence.

“It is also our intention to renew this Executive Order when it expires and will subsequently submit a bill to the National Legislature to finally address these issues,” President Weah added.

 The Liberian Chief Executive, however, noted that though these measures put in place have helped address the situation to some extent, the lack of institutions to speedily try and convict offenders remains a serious challenge.

“Even when they are convicted, the prisons are so overcrowded and inadequate to keep them behind bars for the duration of their sentence; we are therefore appealing to the European Union and our development partners to work with our justice system to find solutions to some of these problems,” President Weah said.

At the same time, the Liberian leader told delegates at the summit that besides the issue of gender equality, Liberia is also faced with security threats from terrorists as a result of Liberia’s involvement in the peacekeeping effort in Mali, noting: “We run the risk of retaliatory threats from supporters and sympathizers of those involved in terrorism.”

He explained that Liberia’s involvement in the peacekeeping effort in Mali is based on the “concept of reciprocity, as many of our brothers and sisters from countries in West Africa sacrificed their lives to bring peace to Liberia during its years of civil unrest.”

President Weah then called on the EU and the United Nations to work with Liberia’s security sector to ensure the safety of its citizens and residents within the borders of the country.

 

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