Members of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) have warned perpetrators and would-be perpetrators that the association will not relent in advocating for the prevention and end of multi-dimensional violence in the country.
AFELL’s president Attorney Philomena T. Williams stated, “With the support of international partners, for twenty-nine years, we have focused our advocacy on educating communities to know and exercise their rights.”
According to her, the Association has raised awareness on gender inequality, health risks of female genital mutilation, amended gender insensitive laws and has emphasized the benefit of accountability.
She made the assertion recently, when the Association which is expected to host its first convention in the 29 years of its systemic advocacy in protecting and promoting the rights of women and children in Liberia officially began its activities with parade from the Law Library and ended to the Temple of Justice, while the indoor activities is set to take place from February 23-24, 2023.
Atty. Williams indicated that AFELL has over the years, represented indigents, providing legal services to those in need of legal assistance that are not able to afford lawyers, and noted, “Since the establishment of our organization, we have continued to speak strongly against all forms of violence the lives of many women and children over the years and enhanced their personalities.”
AFELL’s president revealed that with effectiveness of activism, multi-dimensional violence in the nation has intensified and therefore, needs attention, and thereby disclosed that the growing terror in rape cases, and it’s damaging and harmful effect on children as young as two to three years old.
She added that the increase in domestic violence and abuse -women are severely beaten by their spouses and left with indelible scars. “The growing number of unabated murders without redress, sadly we are reminded of the dreadful murder of a security woman in her home in Brewerville, outside of Monrovia. Ritualistic killing is widespread across the length and breadth of Liberia. Fearfully, women are reporting threats to their lives.”
She then appreciates President George M. Weah for his appointment of a female Chief Justice and other females in position of Leadership, and also stressed the need for the President to act more and make strong public condemnations of issues of violence against women and children.
She also called on the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police Col. Patrick Sudue to focus on developing deterrence strategies to reduce violence and to impartially enforce the arrest of perpetrators, where probable cause is established and the matter procedurally taken to court.
For his part, the Secretary General of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Bornor M. Varmah said AFELL is a part of the LNBA that is why whatever affects the women of Liberia, affects the Bar.
Cllr. Varmah stressed that due to that, the LNBA has elevated the conversion around domestic violence against women; saying that the Bar will continue to work with the leadership AFEEL to talk about the issue of violence against women because it has become prevalent that women have been beaten and their rights have been violated.
Meanwhile, the president of the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL), Siatta Scott-Johnson, thanked AFELL for joining hands as sister organization to fight against domestic violence.
“There is no different between women lawyers and women Journalists and we are glad that we are doing this for the first time and hope that this will continue because the issue about violence against women is not just women issue but also it is society issues and if the society must do the right thing, we need the law to give us access to justices,” she cautioned.