Liberia: Enact a comprehensive anti-FGM law
Currently, there is no law that expressly criminalises the practice in Liberia. More than 50 percent of girls and women in Liberia have been mutilated, but no perpetrator has ever been prosecuted for inflicting female genital mutilation on girls and women.
In July 2019, the Legislative Arm of Government in Liberia backtracked on efforts to criminalize Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country. They deleted sections from the proposed Domestic Violence Bill (2014) that had sought to outlaw the practice.
On 19th January 2018, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed Executive Order 92, temporarily banning the practice of FGM in Liberia for one year. Although this ban was a step in the right direction, it only covered girls below the age of 18 and imposed lenient penalties on perpetrators. The temporary ban came to an end on January 19, 2019, leaving Liberian girls and women open to the risk of undergoing FGM once again. With the sections removed from the Domestic Violence Bill in 2019, girls and women in Liberia remain at serious risk.
Equality Now is calling on President George M. Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, along with the 54th legislature to ensure that women and girls in Liberia are permanently protected from FGM. Putting in place a law that prohibits the practice would ensure that women and girls in the country are protected and that Liberia adheres to its regional and international human rights commitments.
The government should also support educational outreach to relevant communities and educate local chiefs on the harms of FGM. Women’s rights and health matters must be treated as a national priority. The cases of Ruth Peal who continues to endure the long term health implications of FGM and Zaye Doe who died during forced mutilation in 2017 demonstrate the urgency with which the Government of Liberia must act to end this harmful practice.
Call on Liberian authorities to:
- ensure that a permanent and comprehensive anti-FGM law which imposes heavy penalties on perpetrators is passed and enforced
- support educational outreach to relevant communities and local chiefs on the harms of FGM.
Stand with women and girls across Liberia to end this harmful practice.