“Please take action on Female Genital Mutilation” -Female advocate urges Pres. Weah, Speaker Chambers

The Advocacy Officer of the teenage based group, Girls Alliance for Future Miss Kadiatu Bah has made an impassioned plea to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Bhofal Chambers to help end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.

Delivering a statement from the girls at the program marking the 2021 Day of the African Child at the O’Nance International Christian School in 72nd, the teen leader said FGM is the window to all forms of abuse against women and girls in Liberia. “It is a barbaric, dehumanizing, destructive and insane act perpetrated against the Liberian girl child”, she said.

In order to correct the practice, Miss Kadiatu urged the House Speaker to introduce an Amendment to the Domestic Violence law that will criminalize FGM, adding that capping FGM as the sacred rites of Liberia’s traditional people by the National legislature was a very grave error that needs to be corrected. She furthered that FGM victims are mostly children under 15-years and in most instance the girls are married off immediately after the ceremony.

“By embracing FGM, the law makers are in total contradiction of the provision against statutory rape in Liberia”, she said.

The young lady observed that by August 14, 2021, it will make be two years since the Domestic Violence Bill was signed into law by the President Dr. George Manneh Weah, a feat that hailed President Weah as Liberia’s Feminist in Chief but wonder why with such title the president could not consider as red flag the absence of the provision that criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation.

She lamented how the issue of FGM has been treated with mute indifference from both the past and present government and stated that even Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was the first elected female president both in Liberia and Africa, condemned the same bill in 2018 but refused to make it a law once the provision was absent.

She said Madam Sirleaf made a face saving declaration just 3 days to the end of her administration on the night of January 19, 2018 and quoted as saying, “The Domestic Violence Bill, which criminalizes domestic violence against women including violence against men and children, was passed by the 53rd National Legislature without the female genital mutilation component, which undermines the very essence of the law and leaves it incomplete.” She said Madam Sirleaf compensated the cause by signing an executive order to reflect the gravity of the situation at the time

“So, we are calling on the President George Weah to acquiesce to the feminist in chief title” by bringing an amendment to this law. We call on the Speaker Honorable Bhofal Chambers to honor the legacy of the late Representative Monah Pelham Youngblood. She was one of the most prominent members of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change, who offered to help us bring an amendment to this law. Mr. Speaker we need you”, Kadiatu pleaded.

The keynote speaker at the program Alyson Grunder, United States Deputy Chief of Mission in Liberia lauded the girls for their courage to denounce FGM. Ms. Grunder noted that she understands it is a cultural practice that is harmful to the girl child in Liberia and most parts of Africa. She encouraged the girls to reach out to their law makers through letters and all forms of communication to create awareness of the practice. Alyson Grunder, who told the girls she was at the end of her assignment in Liberia, said the United States Embassy is ready to support the girls in their work.  She said the US embassy is currently working to end trafficking in persons in Liberia. The US diplomat believes most of the victims of trafficking in the country are females, especially teenage and adolescent women.

The Day of the African Child harkens back to the Soweto uprising in South Africa in 1971, when students took to the streets to protest discriminatory education policies by the then South African Apartheid government. On June 16 every year, governments, NGOs, international organizations, and other stakeholders gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the full realization of the rights of children in Africa. This year’s celebration is no exception. During the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which was held virtually on (15-26 March 2021), the Committee decided to devote its 2021 Day of General Discussion to the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Adolescent Children. The theme selected by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) for the celebration of the DAC in 2021 is: “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”.

Agenda 2040 is a ten-point aspirational goal that brings a holistic approach to mitigating the impact of the sufferings of children in Africa. Girls Alliance secretary general Faith courage Smith said they are tremendously grateful for the 2040 Agenda instrument that addresses a variety of issues, if implemented will help mitigate the sufferings of the Liberia girl Child.

Comments are closed.