LIBERIA: Border Security Urged to Protect Women's Rights

Friday, July 16, 2010
Daily Observer
Western Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
General Women, Peace and Security
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

The Ministry of Justice, in collaboration with United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and other partners, Tuesday commenced a three-day Security Training Workshop on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) for State security personnel assigned at border posts between Liberia and neighbouring countries.

The workshop, which ends today, seeks to address issues of SGBV outlined in the National Plan of Action, which also encompass two key objectives of Pillars One and Three of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), concerned with the Consolidation of Peace and Security and the Strengthening of Governance and the Rule of Law.

The lead facilitator of the workshop, Consultant and Social Worker at the Ministry of Justice, Ms. Fatu Daramy-Mensah, noted that the exercise was designed to give security personnel a clear understanding of sexual and gender based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.

She said this will enhance the sensitivity of security personnel to the plight of women and children, and ensure that they are provided equal protection under the law, as well as understand their roles in the prevention and protection of women against all forms of SGBV.

The workshop is also intended to sensitize security personnel assigned at Liberia's borders about international and local laws on the rights of women and to provide them with ethical and professional services to protect their rights.

The training is being held against the backdrop that security officers assigned at the nation's borders routinely encounter vulnerable women challenged by economic difficulties that are potentially vulnerable to discrimination and harassment by local officials, and are often constrained to engage in transactional sexual relationships in exchange for accommodation transportation basically as a result of poverty.

The Ministry of Justice is organizing the workshop as part of its mandate to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and in fulfilment of its commitment to strengthen the capacity of its staff in the security sector in providing gender sensitive services, promoting gender equality and protecting the rights of women.