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Liberian Chiefs Recommend Stiff Punishment For Rapists
By Philip T. Singbah, LINA Bong County Correspondent
GBARNGA, October 24 (LINA) - Delegates at the just-ended National Consultation on Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Peace-Building have recommended castration and execution for those found guilty of rape in Liberia.
The forum was sponsored by The Carter Center in partnership with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
The stakeholders, including Ministry of Internal Affairs, Carter Center, National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, UNMIL and women leaders took the decision at the close of a three-day conference held in Gbarnga recently.
At the conference, the stakeholders discussed the prevalence of domestic violence, especially rape, land tenure and elections.
Over 200 traditional chiefs and elders, including women groups and women in leadership, crafted a resolution to be presented to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in which they agreed that the government amend the law on rape to allow for castration of convicts and a five-year jail sentence for anyone who compromises rape case.
The chiefs at the conference also agreed that regular meetings be convened to discuss societal issues to avert these societal ills.
Speaking on the issue of rape and other domestic violence, Deputy Commissioner at the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), Asatu Kenneth warned women against compromising rape.
Meanwhile, some women attending the conference said the issue of land is also causing problem for many of them in the rural areas as their tribal, customary and ancestral lands they got from their forefathers are being claimed by authorities.
At the same time, some chiefs and women at the conference expressed concern over the citizenship of their children by foreigners and other issues pertaining to acquiring citizenship in Liberia as some challenges they are being faced with.
Carter Center Chief of Party, Pewee Flomoku, in an interview with the Liberia News Agency (LINA) following the close of the conference thanked UNMIL for making the program a success and pledged Carter Center’s continued support for women rights and the sustainability of peace in Liberia.
Also speaking, UNMIL Deputy SRSG for Rule of Law, Wladimar Vrey said there is need to address issues of violence against women and girls, especially rape.
He lauded the participants for discussing things that affect women in Liberia.