Liberia Declares Rape A National Emergency

SAN FRANCISCO, September 12, (THEWILL) – 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 country. The move comes after thousands of Liberians protested, the rising incidents of rape in Monrovia, last month.

Weah’s announcement of a national rape emergency follows a conference in Monrovia on tackling sexual violence on Wednesday.

Addressing the meeting, the president said Liberia was “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”

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 “National Security Task Force” on sexual- and gender-based violence”, the statement added.

The high rate of rape in Liberia has been a longstanding concern. A UN report in 2016 recorded 803 rape cases in 2015. The report found that only 2% of sexual violence cases led to a conviction.

Incidents of rape appear to have risen sharply this year. Margaret Taylor, the Director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network said that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August. That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said.