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‘Gender-Based Violence Remains Widespread In Liberia’ -Says Gender Minister Saydee Tarr

Gender Minister, Williametta Saydee Tarr has disclosed that Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls remains one of the widespread human rights violations in Liberia and other countries around the world.

She therefore call for inclusive gender-sensitive budgeting to address challenges and reduce the gap between women and men in terms of opportunities and empowerment in the post-conflict nation.

Minister Tarr further intoned that physical assaults, sexual violence, harassment, and trafficking of children, among others, have reached their full potential in society and as such, there is a urgent for collective efforts to combat the malice.

She made the remark when she officially launch a new project under the captioned: “Promoting Gender Responsive Planning and Budgeting as a tool for Electoral Accountability to Address Gender-Based Violence and Promote Women Empowerment” in Monrovia.

Accordingly, the program which was launched by Intergrity Watch Liberia on Thursday, May 25, 2023 is being funded by UN Women.

According to her, despite the alarming rate of GBV, it is the duty and collective responsibility of the government and other actors to combat those who perpetrate violence against women and girls and provide support to the victims and their respective families.

Minister Tarr maintained that it is prudent for government and actors to collectively work towards preventing Gender Based Violence, instead of waiting for these acts to be committed before taking action.

Liberia’s Gender Minister Williametta Saydee Tarr

She asserted, “Gender-Based Violence and unresponsiveness hinder Liberia’s development ability. It is one of the most widespread consistent human rights violations in our world today. We must place emphasis on preventing violence than responding.”

Meanwhile, Minister Tarr has also underscored the need for authorities at various government ministries and agencies to prioritize gender-sensitive budgeting as part of efforts to bridge the empowerment gap between women and men in Liberian society.

She added that in order to achieve this, government and its partners must recognize and address gender equality and discrimination as one of the root causes of violence, adding that it would require supporting changes in attitudes and behaviors by making headways toward equal rights, opportunities, and equal participation, especially in decision-making.

Earlier, Integrity Watch-Liberia Executive Director, Harold Aidoo disclosed that for years now, Liberia, with support from international partners, has embarked on efforts to address issues surrounding gender equality and equity in the nation.

He said in a bid to meet the goal of bridging the gender gaps, the national budgeting process must be gender sensitive. “If we are able to make our national budget gender sensitive for it to address the gender gaps that we have, whether we address the issues around gender based violence, the economy or health when it comes to gender or education-we cannot be able to achieve gender responsiveness in ways that address many of the gender gap issues around gender equality and gender equity.”

“These goals will not be achieved if we are not able to influence the national budget. It is in this light that with funding from UN Women, we are happy to launch this project that leverages on the upcoming 2023 presidential and legislative so that we can have champions who will go at the Legislature and make sure that our national budget is gender sensitive so when we are passing and discussing the budget, they are able to make allocations that addresses issues around health and other issues confronting our society.”

“So, we are here to launch this project and to hopefully work with the new legislators that will be elected in the ensuing October 10 elections so that they will be able to work with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to make sure that the 2024 budget will address many of the gender gaps that we have in our society,” he added.

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