We must act now. We must act together.

25 nov 2021

Joint Statement from the Embassies of France, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, ECOWAS Commission, and the Delegation of the European Union On the occasion of the launch of the 30th Anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Global Campaign

Gender-based violence (GBV) is one of the most widespread and persistent violations of the rights of women and girls.  Globally, one in three women will experience some form of gender-based violence in their lifetime. 

In 2020 alone, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) reported a total of 2,240 GBV cases.  GBV can be physical, sexual, emotional, or economic.  In Liberia, denial of resources, abandonment of families by the sole provider of that family, child abuse and sexual abuse by parents/guardians, physical abuse or rape of a partner, female genital mutilation, and early/forced marriages are all examples of gender-based violence. 

Based on available data, rape appears to be the most prevalent form, making up nearly 70 percent of reported cases, according to the United Nations Population Fund Liberia (UNFPA-L).  Globally, the most prevalent form is intimate partner violence, which includes sexual violence.  We know that the actual number of cases are likely much higher as many cases go unreported.  It is important to create ways for all types of gender-based violence to be reported safely and respectfully.

President Weah declared rape a national emergency last year.  We argue that all forms of gender-based violence, including sexual violence and intimate-partner violence constitute a quiet but persistent, prevalent national epidemic.

Women accounted for over 95 percent of reported SGBV cases between 2018-2020 (UNFPA-L).  Violence is, however, not exclusive to women and girls; it impacts everyone.  The number of reported cases of the rape of boys is small but growing.  Failure to address this violence also entails a significant cost for the future.  Numerous studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become perpetrators of violence in the future.  It is important to act now, or risk jeopardizing the future by failing to protect and nurture Liberia’s children and youth.

The primary focus must be on prevention.  Prevention must address negative social norms and elements of toxic masculinity that affect both women and men and create power imbalances to be exploited.  This is hard work and requires the collective effort of every level of society, from President Weah and his government to civil society, traditional leaders, youth groups, faith-based organisations, and community members.

Ending impunity is key.  Police, judicial and health systems that are seen to be functional, accountable, and impartial will increase faith and trust in society and encourage survivors to come forward.  Timely redress of cases will end the belief that perpetrators can and will escape accountability for their crimes.  We therefore urge all stakeholders to make all efforts to end gender-based violence and we strongly encourage the Government of Liberia to act on the following:

  • Fulfill the government’s stated commitments: Scale up a survivor-centered, comprehensive response to GBV that includes prevention, psychosocial support for survivors, medical assistance, access to justice, and rehabilitation programs for perpetrators.
  • Strengthen and enforce existing laws such as the rape law and the domestic violence act, including provision of resources for awareness raising about the laws to communities and all stakeholders.
  • Permanently ban the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting. End a practice that causes physical as well as psychological pain and irreparable damage.
  • Support the appointment of suitably qualified women to local government leadership positions to address the current gender imbalance and to increase female participation and representation at all levels.
  • Support efforts to increase women’s political participation so that the legislature better reflects the population of the country.
  • Expand the provision of legal aid, especially for the most underserved and disadvantaged groups of women and girls – our common ‘leave no one behind’ imperative.
  • Take immediate action to address current backlog in GBV cases under police investigation, ensure access to speedy trial for persons accused of GBV crimes and enhance capacities for forensic investigations.
  • Improve data collection to enhance the collective understanding of the demographics of the problem, to identify and understand social norms and behaviours, particularly positive norms, and to better inform national plans and programmes for SGBV prevention and response.
  • Invest in evidence-based violence prevention programmes, such as school-based interventions with community outreach, combining economic empowerment and gender training, and community mobilisation to change social norms


We must act now.  We must act together.  We must end gender-based violence.


H.E. Neil Bradley, Ambassador, Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

H.E. Laurent Delahousse, Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Liberia

H.E. Jakob Haselhuber, Ambassador, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

H.E. Michael A. McCarthy, Ambassador, Embassy of the United States of America

Ms. Kate O’Donnell, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Ireland

H.E. Michaël Roux, Ambassador, Embassy of France

H.E. Urban Sjöström, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden

Mr. Nathaniel B. Walker, Chargé d'Affaires/Ag. Resident Representative, ECOWAS Commission

Senast uppdaterad 25 nov 2021, 08.43