UN Women, Madam Marie-Goreth Nizigma on 16 Days Of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

By: Leila B. Gbati

Workers of the United Nations have been called upon to prevent all forms of violence against women, girls and boys in Liberia.

The Country Representative of UN Women, Madam Marie-Goreth Nizigma, made the call on Friday, November 26, 2021 at the Launch and Celebration of the 16 Days of Activism for UN Staff held at Pan African Plaza, UN Headquarters on 1st Street Sinkor.

The UN in Liberia along with the GOL and other partners is celebrating the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence from 25 November to 10 December 2021 under the global theme “Orange the World: End violence against women now!” and the national theme, “Enough is enough! Let’s act now to end violence against women, girls, children and other marginalized groups.”

In a special message at the occasion, Madam Nizigama told the UN Staffers that as they celebrate the 16 Days to say ‘enough is enough’, has to start with them and they must carry the torch and making the world free from violence against women, girls and boys.

She indicated that as UN Staff they have the responsibility to continue to raise awareness on ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

“It has to start with us, we have to be the agent of change and the voice that speaks and people listen,” she said.

Madam Nizigama also encouraged her fellow colleagues to ensure that their homes, streets, mothers, children and all women, girls and boys are protected from all forms of violence.

She further urges them to redouble their efforts to end violence against women and girls now and not any other day.

According to her a UN Staff has responsibility to promote human rights everywhere and also be an example to fight violence perpetrated against women and girls.

Speaking further the UN Women Country Representative said that there are various forms of violence being perpetrated against women and girls in communities, neighborhoods, work places and the world at large.

She disclosed that their partner, non-partners or a boy subjects one in every three women before the age of 50 years around the world to physical or sexual violence once in a lifetime.

She maintained that violence against women remains unchanged over the last decade and gender stereotypes in harmful social norms including the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage, stressing that in Liberia there is an increase in rape, domestic violence and FGM.

“Violence against the rights of women really need to stop, enough is enough. We cannot continue to live in a society where our lives as women and girls continue to remain endangered,” she said.

She however recognized that significant progress has been made through the Spotlight Initiative to prevent and eliminate violence against women, noting the gender equality forum and Government of Liberia and partners’ actions to build a global movement base on mobilizing GOL, CSOs and the national community on ending violence against women and girls.

Also speaking, the President of the Federation of the United Nations Staff Association in Liberia (FUNSAL), Kaman Weah condemn all forms of violence against women and girls at work places especially, amongst UN Staffers.

Mr. Weah said that UN Offices must be a safe place for both men and women to work.

He used the occasion to call on all UN staff to speak out if they experience any form of violence in their offices.

“If you think that you have no one to talk to, I am encouraging you to come to the leadership of the UN Staff Association and speak out and we will address the matter. Colleagues, we must use these mediums available and our leadership is ready to listen to staffs and act because there is no room for this in this leadership,” he said.

He told his fellow workers that gender equality should be obtain therefore every woman and girl should enjoy the same rights and opportunity equally as their male counterpart.

He also pledged his commitment in doing his part to end violence against women, girls and other marginalized groups and at the same time calling on his fellow workers to join him publicly to pledge their support to his commitment to end violence against women and girls in Liberia.

“You can lift your voice by advocating for gender equality in this country. Today is the day to say enough is enough let us act now and end all forms of violence against women and girls in Liberia and the world,” he said.

For his part, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Liberia, Niels Scott pointed that there cannot be sustainable development without basic human rights without eliminating violence against women in the homes, community and workplace.

According to the UN Liberia Resident Coordinator, Liberia cannot move ahead without eliminating all forms of violence against women, girls and marginalized group in schools, institutions and every aspect of work places.

He stressed that the Launch of the 16 Days of Activism is a fantastic opportunity for everyone to reenergize himself or herself to end violence against women.

Meanwhile, he encouraged everyone to get engage and contribute toward eliminating violence against women.

He vowed that they will continue to speak and if all of the messages and voices of violence against women and girls can come together than they can amplify the message against Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV).

“We are all responsible, ask yourself what have I done to help achieve gender equality or women empowerment, everyone needs to contribute and show concern to this fight of violence against women,” he said.

He recommited the UN effort to support the GOL and people of Liberia to end SGBV, FGM and other forms of violence against women, girls and marginalized groups.

At the same time he emphasized that lot more needs to be done and there should be a collective effort to bring violence against women down.

Mr. Scott noted that violence against women and girls hinders progress towards the attainment of sustainable development emphasizing that it is time for all of us to come together and fight gender-based violence against women and girls in Liberia.

“It is time to double efforts to implement the laws that have been passed, such as the Domestic Violence Act and enact outstanding bills designed to address the high incidence of gender-based violence,” Mr. Scott said.

However, the occasion ended with a penal discussion on the topics: Addressing Negative Practices Affecting Women and Girls in the Traditional Setting and Violence Against Women in Elections in Liberia.

Panelists and facilitators at the event were, Tamba Johnson, Chairperson of the National female genital mutilation working group; Setta Fofana Saah, Coordinator of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia (NACCEL) ; Counsellor Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice and Chair of the Constitutional Review Committee; Mmonbeydo Nadine Joah, President of the Network on Peace and Security for Women in the ECOWAS Region (NOPSWECO) and Executive Director of the Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) and Senator Botoe Kanneh.

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