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Throughout her presidency, President Johnson-Sirleaf has strongly declared her commitment to women’s rights and to promoting the health and safety of women and girls. Please join us and our partner, the Women of Liberia Peace Network, in calling for a total ban on FGM in the bill, as required by the Maputo Protocol - the African women’s rights legal framework, which Liberia has ratified. At a time when the Africa-led momentum to end FGM is growing, we can’t go backwards. Please raise your voice today! #EndFGM #LiberiaBanFGM

In April 2010, Equality Now issued a campaign highlighting the case of Ruth Berry Peal who was kidnapped and forcibly subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) by some members of the politically influential Sandefemale secret society. The Sande society promotes and carries out FGM as part of an initiation rite into womanhood. More than 58.2% of Liberian women have undergone FGM. Ruth filed a lawsuit against the women and, in July 2011, they were found guilty of kidnapping, felonious restraint and theft of property and were sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Ruth Berry Peal with her lawyer

However, the defendants appealed the judgment and were released on bail. The appeal has been pending at the Supreme Court since July 2011 with no hearing date set, reportedly due to a lack of resources allocated to prosecuting this case. Equality Now and our partners are concerned about the delay in hearing this appeal and finalizing the case, especially as the perpetrators remain free on bail.

 TAKE ACTION NOW!

***

In June 2011, Equality Now met with the Liberian Minister of Internal Affairs regarding Ruth Berry Peal’s case and ending FGM in Liberia. During the meeting he indicated that he would stop the issuance of FGM permits and would work with the Ministry of Justice to draft a law banning FGM. In November 2011, the Government took steps towards ending FGM by persuading Sande leaders to stop the practice, which is at the core of the female initiation rituals, and a ceremony to mark the event took place in the presence of the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  Subsequently the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a notice to all counties directing that all Sande activities be shut down and underlining that violators would be held liable. While the Ministry’s letter does not categorically state that permits will not be issued to FGM practitioners, our partners confirm that it implies that Sande activities will not be allowed to take place.

While Equality Now and partners welcome these efforts to stop FGM, we are alarmed by the following recent developments:

  • In March 2012, journalist Mae Azango was forced into hiding after publishing a story on FGM. Members of the Sande society have threatened to forcibly subject her to FGM.
  • In May 2012, more than 750 girls, believed to be encouraged by Sande members, underwent FGM in the Nimba County despite the Ministry of Internal Affairs notice to stop Sande activities.

Despite President Sirleaf’s pledge to make women’s rights and health a national priority in Liberia, it is greatly concerning to note the lack of government intervention in the above-mentioned cases, the failure to conclude Ruth Berry Peal’s case, as well as remarks by the Minister of Information in media reports indicating that the government has no plans to end FGM. This lack of a unified stance by government officials undermines the efforts the government is making to end FGM.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Please join Equality Now and our Liberian partners, Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) and Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), in calling on Liberian authorities to:

  • Ensure that Ruth Berry Peal’s case is swiftly and justly concluded
  • Ensure the enforcement of  the government’s suspension of Sande FGM activities
  • Honor Liberia’s international and regional human rights commitments by enacting and enforcing comprehensive legislation against FGM, as well as supporting educational outreach to relevant communities and local chiefs on the harms of FGM

Letters should go to:

H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf     
P.O. Box 9001
Capitol Hill, Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel: +231 644 4696  
Email: info@emansion.gov.lr

Hon Julia Duncan Cassell
Minister for Gender and Development
P.O. Box 10-1375
110 UN Drive & Gurley Street
1000 Monrovia 10 
Republic of Liberia 
Tel: +231 651 6434   
Email: libgenderminister@gmail.com

Hon Dr. Henrique Tokpah
Minister of Internal Affairs
Executive Mansion Ground
Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel: +231 651 3358  
Email: htokpa@gmail.com

H.E. Wheatonia Barnes
Minister of Justice
P.O. Box 0123
Ashmun Street
Monrovia, Republic of Liberia
Tel: + 231 669 7205      
Email: info@moj.gov.lrweatonia@yahoo.com

Madam Sienen Abedu-Baki 
Assistant Minister of Gender
Email: sieaneb@yahoo.com

Mr. William Jallah
Director of Culture
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Email: williamjallah2017@gmail.com

Country: 
All letters: 
8000
Sent letters: 
5117
Type of action: 
Categories new : 
Hero Title: 
Liberia: Enact a law banning FGM as a matter of urgency
Hero image: 
Letter Body: 

Dear [   ]

I am deeply concerned about Liberia’s failure to stop female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a human rights violation and extreme form of violence against girls and women that can result in death. In March 2017, 16-year-old Zaye Doe died in Tappita area in the Sande bush during forced mutilation. The traditional leaders (Zoes) subjected Zaye and 25 more girls to FGM despite the government ban on Sande Secret Society operations, including FGM. Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone are the only West African countries that are yet to criminalize FGM.

Liberia has ratified several regional and international human rights instruments that call for states to ban FGM including through strong legislation, awareness raising and support for its victims. President Sirleaf has also repeatedly pledged to introduce a law banning the practice before the end of her tenure. However, there have been no known prosecutions on FGM to date in Liberia and the government has taken no steps to protect girls and women from being subjected to FGM.

I urge you to enact a law banning FGM to protect women and girls from FGM through strong penalties for perpetrators. The legislation should also ensure that FGM survivors have access to justice, psychosocial and health services. Immediate steps must be also taken to enforce the the ban on Zoes performing FGM.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

Salsa Id: 
11111
Action Date: 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Action Status: 
All Letters Sent (Auto): 
667

View as pdf

Throughout her presidency, President Johnson-Sirleaf has strongly declared her commitment to women’s rights and to promoting the health and safety of women and girls. Please join us and our partner, the Women of Liberia Peace Network, in calling for a total ban on FGM in the bill, as required by the Maputo Protocol - the African women’s rights legal framework, which Liberia has ratified. At a time when the Africa-led momentum to end FGM is growing, we can’t go backwards. Please raise your voice today! #EndFGM #LiberiaBanFGM

In April 2010, Equality Now issued a campaign highlighting the case of Ruth Berry Peal who was kidnapped and forcibly subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) by some members of the politically influential Sandefemale secret society. The Sande society promotes and carries out FGM as part of an initiation rite into womanhood. More than 58.2% of Liberian women have undergone FGM. Ruth filed a lawsuit against the women and, in July 2011, they were found guilty of kidnapping, felonious restraint and theft of property and were sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Ruth Berry Peal with her lawyer

However, the defendants appealed the judgment and were released on bail. The appeal has been pending at the Supreme Court since July 2011 with no hearing date set, reportedly due to a lack of resources allocated to prosecuting this case. Equality Now and our partners are concerned about the delay in hearing this appeal and finalizing the case, especially as the perpetrators remain free on bail.

 TAKE ACTION NOW!

***

In June 2011, Equality Now met with the Liberian Minister of Internal Affairs regarding Ruth Berry Peal’s case and ending FGM in Liberia. During the meeting he indicated that he would stop the issuance of FGM permits and would work with the Ministry of Justice to draft a law banning FGM. In November 2011, the Government took steps towards ending FGM by persuading Sande leaders to stop the practice, which is at the core of the female initiation rituals, and a ceremony to mark the event took place in the presence of the Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.  Subsequently the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a notice to all counties directing that all Sande activities be shut down and underlining that violators would be held liable. While the Ministry’s letter does not categorically state that permits will not be issued to FGM practitioners, our partners confirm that it implies that Sande activities will not be allowed to take place.

While Equality Now and partners welcome these efforts to stop FGM, we are alarmed by the following recent developments:

  • In March 2012, journalist Mae Azango was forced into hiding after publishing a story on FGM. Members of the Sande society have threatened to forcibly subject her to FGM.
  • In May 2012, more than 750 girls, believed to be encouraged by Sande members, underwent FGM in the Nimba County despite the Ministry of Internal Affairs notice to stop Sande activities.

Despite President Sirleaf’s pledge to make women’s rights and health a national priority in Liberia, it is greatly concerning to note the lack of government intervention in the above-mentioned cases, the failure to conclude Ruth Berry Peal’s case, as well as remarks by the Minister of Information in media reports indicating that the government has no plans to end FGM. This lack of a unified stance by government officials undermines the efforts the government is making to end FGM.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! 

Please join Equality Now and our Liberian partners, Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) and Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), in calling on Liberian authorities to:

  • Ensure that Ruth Berry Peal’s case is swiftly and justly concluded
  • Ensure the enforcement of  the government’s suspension of Sande FGM activities
  • Honor Liberia’s international and regional human rights commitments by enacting and enforcing comprehensive legislation against FGM, as well as supporting educational outreach to relevant communities and local chiefs on the harms of FGM

Letters should go to:

H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf     
P.O. Box 9001
Capitol Hill, Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel: +231 644 4696  
Email: info@emansion.gov.lr

Hon Julia Duncan Cassell
Minister for Gender and Development
P.O. Box 10-1375
110 UN Drive & Gurley Street
1000 Monrovia 10 
Republic of Liberia 
Tel: +231 651 6434   
Email: libgenderminister@gmail.com

Hon Dr. Henrique Tokpah
Minister of Internal Affairs
Executive Mansion Ground
Monrovia
Republic of Liberia
Tel: +231 651 3358  
Email: htokpa@gmail.com

H.E. Wheatonia Barnes
Minister of Justice
P.O. Box 0123
Ashmun Street
Monrovia, Republic of Liberia
Tel: + 231 669 7205      
Email: info@moj.gov.lrweatonia@yahoo.com

Madam Sienen Abedu-Baki 
Assistant Minister of Gender
Email: sieaneb@yahoo.com

Mr. William Jallah
Director of Culture
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Email: williamjallah2017@gmail.com

Dear [   ]

I am deeply concerned about Liberia’s failure to stop female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a human rights violation and extreme form of violence against girls and women that can result in death. In March 2017, 16-year-old Zaye Doe died in Tappita area in the Sande bush during forced mutilation. The traditional leaders (Zoes) subjected Zaye and 25 more girls to FGM despite the government ban on Sande Secret Society operations, including FGM. Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone are the only West African countries that are yet to criminalize FGM.

Liberia has ratified several regional and international human rights instruments that call for states to ban FGM including through strong legislation, awareness raising and support for its victims. President Sirleaf has also repeatedly pledged to introduce a law banning the practice before the end of her tenure. However, there have been no known prosecutions on FGM to date in Liberia and the government has taken no steps to protect girls and women from being subjected to FGM.

I urge you to enact a law banning FGM to protect women and girls from FGM through strong penalties for perpetrators. The legislation should also ensure that FGM survivors have access to justice, psychosocial and health services. Immediate steps must be also taken to enforce the the ban on Zoes performing FGM.

I thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

TAKE ACTION

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