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Liberia declares rape a national emergency

Liberia has alarming rates of sexual assault. The government now plans to appoint a special prosecutor for rape for help to tackle the menace

President Geoge Weah has declared rape a national emergency as Liberia faces a spike in sexual assault cases.

He also ordered new measures to ensure that the country mitigates the problem.

Thousands of Liberians have been protesting against rape and the capital, Monrovia, has been the site of many protests over the past month.

The West African nation is noted for a high rate of rape cases, but very few offenders are prosecuted.

A 2016 report by the United Nations said there had been 803 rape cases the previous year but it found only 2% of offenders were convicted.

Special prosecutor for rape

President Weah said he would create an office for a special prosecutor for rape to help tackle the menace. The government said it has also moved to establish a “national security task force” on sexual and gender-based violence.

A statement from the Office of the President also announced that Liberia will set up a national sex offender register to deal with cases of rape and sexual assault.

Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network said it recorded 600 rape cases between June and August alone.

The director of the network, Margaret Taylor, said the number represented a considerable increase on the 80 to 100 cases in May.


President Weah described the spike in sexual assault cases in Liberia as “an epidemic of rape”. The former footballer made the comments after sitting through a conference in Monrovia to discuss how to tackle sexual violence.

“The country was witnessing what is an epidemic of rape within the [coronavirus] pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country,” he said.

Weah said further anti-rape measures will be announced in due course as Liberia seeks to clamp down on sexual assault.

E A Alanore

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