Angelina Nuah (Intern)
Liberia’s Gender Minister, Piso Tarr has blamed the increase in rape on Covid-19 in the country.
Madam Tarr justified that women and children are vulnerable during such period and to provide protection government is making effort .
She said President George Weah has designated some Ministries to expand the fight against rape, sexual and gender base violence with a high expectation of bringing it to an end.
According to her, At least seven (7) major ministries including the Ministries of Justice and Health have been instructed by the President to join the fight against rape and other forms of sexual and gender based violence in the country.
‘’The President went ahead and put together an inter-ministerial taskforce on sexual and gender based violence especially consecrating on rape.
And the taskforce includes almost all of the major Ministries, the Ministry of Gender, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justices, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Youth and sport’’ She said.
Minister Tarr reveals that after meeting as working partners and gathering recommendations that were presented to the President, the joint Ministries against rape was asked by the President to also present a road map of their presentation, adding that they await feedback before presenting to the public.
‘’We were able to present to the President recommendations after we had meeting and compared our notes with everything that was going on, especially between Health, Gender, and Labor because labor also cover trafficking, and once we presented that to him, he called a meeting and he himself chaired that meeting.
The President also invited to that meeting the Head of Judiciary and the Head of the Legislative brench.
The vice-President was also available, After that meeting, he asked us to go ahead and present a road map because he wanted to hear from all sectors.
He wanted to hear from the CSO, from our international partners conjoin of what we presented to be able to make an informed decision as to the way forward.’’ She explained.
Minister Tarr also expressed excitement over the joint efforts applied by citizens as in protesting to end rape, adding that the issue of rape needs joint fight in order to gain victory.
She disclosed that the Ministry of Finance has been mandated by the President to purchase two DNA machines that will smoothen their job in finding perpetrators.
She puts the value of the DNA machines around USD$60,000. According to her, arrival date of the equipment will be in December, 2020.
The Liberian Gender Minister also said providing additional four safe houses for rape survivals is part of their plans to be implemented, with more focus on persecution and the amendment of the Gender laws as she says, they are seeking potential help from the Legislators.
Minister Tarr also disclosed many suggestions that are included in the road map but stressed on the establishment of major taskforce that will help the ministry to subsequently respond to gender issues in various communities, and also the establishment of sex offenders registry in the country.
‘’One of the main things I have been pushing for is to have gender special taskforce that will be specifically gear towards responding to issues of sexual and gender based violence in the communities and we also need to have active case finders and monitors in the communities. One of the things that is in the Law that we need to push forward on is to have sex offenders registry.’’ She ended.
The total gender base violence cases in Liberia according to Minister Tarr, has now climb to 992 from January to July while statutory rape carries 928 with just 20 conviction.
The Gender Minister said government along with its international partners are doing all their best in carrying out more awareness to the people of Liberia as she urged citizens to join the fight against rape in the country.