Presentation on theme: "1 ADDRESSING THE RULE OF LAW AND HUMANITARIAN APPROACHES FOR THE RESPONSE AND PREVENTION OF SGBV IN LIBERIA Lois Bruthus International Symposium on Sexual."— Presentation transcript:
1 ADDRESSING THE RULE OF LAW AND HUMANITARIAN APPROACHES FOR THE RESPONSE AND PREVENTION OF SGBV IN LIBERIA Lois Bruthus International Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict & Beyond Brussels 2006
2 SCOPE OF THE PRESENTATION 1.The Context Introduction Nature and scope of SGBV 2.The rule of law in Liberia The Circuit Courts The new rape law and other interventions 3.Recommendations Restoring rights to victims of brutality, genocide and terror
3 INTRODUCTION Sexual inequality and/or sexual gender based violence (SGBV) is a universal scourge Manifested in controversial habits such as gender prejudice, oppression, sexual abuse, rape, abductions, trafficking, prostitution, etc These are often perpetuated by customs, tradition and habits
4 Sexual inequality is irrational and an abuse of HR Prevalence of sexual violence is directly linked to moral values and the prevailing economic situation of a country/community Addressing SGBV require actions that redress erosion of moral values and economic deprivation
5 SGBV IN LIBERIA: Nature and scope Morality “ran amok” in Liberia due to the civil war Study sample of 1628 (Women and Girls) in 6 counties Year 2005 : 90.8% of Liberian women subjected to SV Rape is rampant accounting for 75% Victims include children under 2 years and women over 65 years
6 Alleged perpetrators include influential members of the society such as teachers, religious leaders, guardians There is general conspiracy of silence/denial by the community or even the affected family raison d’etat
7 MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM Customs and traditions often supersede the laws and statutes of the country The recent conflict only exacerbated the problem Brutal crimes of a sexual nature such as statutory rape, gang rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, sodomy, incest, sexual harassment, gross sexual imposition, prostitution, child trafficking, criminal coercion are rampant
8 In Montserrado County, 61 statutory rape cases reported to police during Sept - Dec 2005; subsequent to the passage of the Rape Bill, 80 rape cases were reported during Jan – April ‘06
9 THE RULE OF LAW There are 16 Cir. Cts The Courts are not functioning to full capacity The Courts opens for three terms yearly, each term is for 42 days Qualified lawyers are wary of taking assignments in rural areas & SE Liberia
10 BARRIERS TO JUSTICE FOR SGBV VICTIMS AND FAMILIES Inability to meet the costs of the legal prosecution; Stigmatization associated with rape The “snail-paced” dispensation of justice Inadequate institutionalized framework to address therapy for the mind and the spirit of victims of SGBV.
11 LEGAL INTERVENTIONS: The New Rape Law Refined the definition of rape to include penetration not only by penis but any other foreign objects Increased age of consent from 16 to 18 years
12 Increased the penalty for: 2 nd degree felony from 7 to 10 years. Gang rape and the rape of girls under 18 years to life imprisonment. The new rape law does not consider relief for GBV survivors To date, only two cases have been successfully prosecuted
13 CURRENT PROGRESS / FOCUS Awareness raising on the new rape law and to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice but not concealed Provision of free legal services to GBV cases
14 Political commitment at the highest level to implement the new rape law UNMIL’s decision to contract and assign Liberian Attorneys to rural Liberia with improved terms of service
15 RECAP: Key issues for consideration Strengthening humanitarian approaches to building the rule of law Increasing access to justice
16 Promoting individual, community and national security, recovery and development Building a supportive environment to enhance SGBV survivors’ coping Build the capacity of NGOs to respond and lobby for the passage of legislations and legal representations
17 RECOMMENDATIONS Re-establish the value systems starting with rebuilding moral authority of the highest decision makers and trickle down to the citizens so as to thwart the raison d’etat used to commit SGBV and elude justice Create a fast track Court to dispose off cases of SGBV and restore public trust and confidence in the justice system
18 Institutionalize systematic sensitization of communities on SGBV prevention amongst vulnerable populations Strengthen training officials of the Courts, the police and other relevant organizations that deal specifically with SGBV-related issues
19 Support skills training and small-scale enterprise programs for war-affected women and girls so as to alleviate their dependency on prostitution and other unwholesome practices Establish a databank to track incidences of SGBV and devise effective and appropriate response (s).
20 Formulate and implement a national policy and plan of action for SGBV Convene an international conference to address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)
Your consent to our cookies if you continue to use this website.