Liberia: Enact a law banning FGM as a matter of urgency

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Ruth Berry Peal with her lawyer

27 JULY 2016: Unfortunately, Liberia passed its domestic violence bill on 21 July without any provision to ban FGM. We are working with partners on next steps to ensure a standalone FGM ban is enacted as soon as possible.

Equality Now has just issued an Action calling on the Government of Liberia to enact a law banning female genital mutilation (FGM) and to ensure the swift conclusion of Ruth Berry Peal’s case. In July 2011, the members of the politically influential Sande secret society who had kidnapped and forcibly subjected Ruth to FGM were sentenced to three years imprisonment; however, they appealed the judgment and were released on bail. The appeal has been pending at the Supreme Court with no hearing date set and the perpetrators remain free.

Despite Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s pledge to make women’s rights and health a national priority, recent steps by the government to suspend Sande activities and the government’s stated willingness to work on an anti-FGM law, reports of mutilations continue with a lack of government intervention. This lack of a unified stance by government officials undermines the efforts the government is making to end FGM.

Please call on Liberian authorities to ensure that Ruth Peal’s case is speedily concluded and that that the government’s suspension of Sande FGM activities is enforced. Furthermore, call on them to enact and enforce comprehensive legislation against FGM as well as supporting educational outreach to relevant communities and local chiefs on the harms of FGM.

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