Remarks Delivered by Mr. Israel Choko Davies, Chargé d’affaires of the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, during the Ambassadorial-level virtual meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) on Women, Peace, and Security
Thank you for the opportunity Mr. Chair. A lot has been shared and commented on by many great speakers. I would like to make a few comments as well. We pride ourselves on the many landmark achievements relating to women peace and security and the empowerment of women – the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the 20th anniversary of the Security Council Resolution 1325, and the 5th year since the adoption of the SDGs (here, let me make specific reference to goal 5).
In spite of these, during the just ended high-level meeting of the fourth conference of women, the speakers unanimously highlighted the deprivation, violence, discrimination, and suffering women face. And speaking about violence, speakers reiterated WHO’s report – that one in three women face sexual or physical violence – this is indeed horrific. And with the existence of COVID-19, the existing gender inequalities for women and girls have severely worsened. This goes to say that we need to do more, particularly with gender mainstreaming.
It's high time, we expand the campaign aimed to conscientize everyone about the significant role women can play in our society when they are protected and empowered. I am of the strong opinion that what men can do, women can as well. And when women are involved, the initiative is sustained. For example, Eleanor Roosevelt played a leading role as Chairperson of the drafting committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since then, this has remained the global road map for freedom and equality – protecting the rights of every individual, everywhere. In October 2019 NASA Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch took part in the first all-women spacewalk; leaving their International Space Station to replace a power controller. Today, it is not a male who has sparked a global movement for climate change; rather Miss Greta Thunberg who has reminded humanity that we face an existential crisis. Our success on securing the future we want will be largely hinged on how we confront climate change. Many young women in Liberia who have joined the military or police force got their inspiration from the all-female contingent of Indian peacekeepers, deployed in Liberia. Following years of civil upheaval in Liberia, when the women of Liberia realized that there was no perpetual end in sight, they took matters into their hands. Under the banner of “Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace,” they staged a silent non-violent protest which proved very critical in compelling key stakeholders to reach a peace deal in Liberia, thus bringing an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
Whatever the political will, promises, intentions we have to transform the conditions of women, must translate to concrete and practical actions.
We need to support calls for equal opportunity for women as well as to bridge the GENDER PAY GAP.
For Liberia, in the midst of challenges, we are committed to doing our part to ensure that women and girls enjoy the same rights and privileges as their male counterparts. To this end, the Government of Liberia adopted the revised National Gender Policy launched in 2017. We passed into law the Domestic Violence Bill in July 2019 - a legal instrument that seeks to abolish all forms of violence meted out against women, children, and men. The PBF was very supportive in this achievement.
Temporarily the bush schools where the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is carried out, is closed; halting such practice.
Except for the Legislature where there are fewer women, in the Judiciary, there are two women out of five justices. From the recent appointments made by President Weah, women constitute 53%’ at the ranks of Minister, Deputy Ministers, Judge, Director General, and Deputy Director, etc.
It may be very important to indicate that with immeasurable assistance from the PBF, we were able to develop in 2017, the Gender Security Strategy which has led to the establishment of the following: 1. Gender Units in all security institutions, as well as in some Ministries and agencies; the development of gender policies in three security institutions: Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National Police and the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation in order to mainstream gender in the security sector; and 2. the launch of the Spotlight initiative meant to end violence against women and girls.
In concluding let me reaffirm that we will continue to support the PBC Gender Strategy. And as a country, with support from partners, we will remain committed to supporting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. We anticipate more robust collaboration in the premise to advance and implement strategies that protect women and address gender inequalities.
I Thank You!