Thursday, October 1, 2020

Liberia declares 'rape' a National emergency !

James Monroe [1758 – 1831] was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the fifth president of the United States from 1817 to 1825. A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, Monroe was the last president of the Virginia dynasty; his presidency coincided with the Era of Good Feelings. He is perhaps best known for issuing the Monroe Doctrine, a policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas. 

Monrovia  is the capital city of the West African country of Liberia.  In 1816, with the aim of establishing a self-sufficient colony for emancipated American slaves, something that had already been accomplished in Freetown, the first settlers arrived in Africa from the United States, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society.  They landed at Sherbro Island in present-day Sierra Leone.  On Jan 7, 1822, a second ship rescued the settlers and took them to Cape Mesurado, establishing the settlement of Christopolis.  In 1824, the city was renamed Monrovia after James Monroe, then President of the United States, who was a prominent supporter of the colony in sending freed Black slaves and ex-Caribbean slaves from the United States of America and Caribbean islands to Liberia and who saw it as preferable to emancipation in America.

 


George Weah [George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah] was a famous striker, regarded as one of the greatest African players of all time.  Almost 20 years back, in 1995 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or award.   In 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.  Weah spent fourteen years of his professional football career playing for clubs in France, Italy, and England.

Liberia  is in West Africa bordered by Sierra Leone,Guinea and Ivory Coast to its east. It covers an area of 111,369 square kilometres (43,000 sq mi) and is home to about 4 million people. English is the official language and over thirty indigenous languages are also spoken within the country. For those interested in Marine and ships, the Liberian Registry, established in 1948 by former U.S. Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, is recognized as one of the foremost open ship and corporate registries.  The Ebola outbreak is  among the worst the world has ever seen. One reason it's been able to spread so quickly is because of where it first emerged: in the porous remote border area between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It  killed so many people bringing untold suffering.

Liberian President George Weah has declared rape a national emergency and has ordered new measures to tackle the problem after a recent spike of cases in the poor West African state. The moves comes after thousands of Liberians protested rising incidents of rape in the capital Monrovia last month, in a bid to draw attention to the country's alarming rate of sexual assault. Late on Friday, Weah said he would install a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, as well as set up a national sex offender registry, a statement from his office said. The government will also establish a so-called 'national security task force' on sexual- and gender-based violence.

 

The high rates of rape in impoverished Liberia, forced to contend both with war and the Ebola virus in recent years, has been a longstanding concern. Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply this year, however. Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia's Women Empowerment Network, told the AFP news agency last month that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, for example. That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said. Statistics by the Bureau of Corrections at the Ministry of Justice for the months of January to June 2020 showed that in that time period, there were more than 600 reports of aggravated assault, sodomy, sodomy with criminal intent and rape.

A UN report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases the previous year in the country of 4.5 million, and found that only two percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction, for example. It was the resulting sense of impunity and the legacy of the 14-year civil war between 1989 and 2003, when rape was commonplace, that had created the current problem, it said.  Weah's announcement of a national rape emergency follows a conference in the capital Monrovia on tackling sexual violence on Wednesday. Addressing the meeting, the footballer-turned-president said Liberia was 'witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.' Weah's office said in the statement on Friday that further anti-rape measures will be announced.

Liberia is currently ranked 177th out of 188 countries on the annual Gender Equality Index.

 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

13.9.2020.

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