LIBERIA: Unicef Boss Warns against Violence

Thursday, February 13, 2014
All Africa
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Human Rights
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The Country Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Mr. Sheldon Yett, has warned against all gender and domestic based violence in the country.

According to Mr. Yett, violence does not discriminate; noting that it cuts across communities, culture, class and religions and as such, it must be avoided at all times and at all levels.

The UNICEF boss was speaking Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at program marking the graduation of 25 girls from the Shiata Women of Faith vocational program and the dedication of a palava hut in Careysburg City, Montserrado County.

The 25-vulnerable girls graduated after successfully completing a one-year training course in tailoring and soap making. The training was conducted by the Shiata Women of Faith Alliance; a branch of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL) with partnership with UNICEF.

"In Liberia, as in other countries, violence does not discriminate. It cuts across communities, culture, class and religions. It occurs in homes and families, schools and villages. It occurs in the very places where children should be most safe," said Mr. Yett.

He said violence, exploitation and abuse of children violate fundamental tenets of all religions and as such, there is a need to fight against these social evils and provide counseling, spiritual guidance and speak out for the violated.

"All the religions in the world cherish the inherent dignity of all human beings.

Violence threatens the wellbeing of both individuals and communities. Religious leaders and communities of faith have the moral authority to raise awareness against violence, to advocate for concrete measures to protect those most at risk, and to provide support to those who are victims of it," he stated.

"I want to reiterate the urgency to curb violence and condemn the epidemic of sexual violence in Liberia. We need to speak out against sexual violence.

I have been saying this in all public forums and will say it here again; we cannot solve the sexual violence the family way. Please report it to the police. We need to speak out against violence," the UNICEF Liberia boss noted.

Among other things, he urged the Liberian media to play an active role in the fight against all domestic and gender based violence that negatively impact the entire society as a whole.

For her part, an official of the Ministry of Gender, Madam Ina Christensen, said if the children are protected and given the space to participate, they will in turn be good custodians of the peace that everybody now enjoys.

Madam Christensen, who is also a gender advocate, pointed out that it is cardinal that children's issues are placed in the core of the plans and matters which are charting the country in the positive direction.

She noted that it is time that all actors, especially national government, consider very seriously, allocating or including in the national budget, money to deliver child protection related services and programs.

She spoke on the topic: "Budgeting for children is budgeting for progressive Liberia, a call for national commitment."