MONROVIA, Sept. 22 (LINA) – In a speech delivered via video conference Monday at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President George Weah said his Administration has taken many measures, since the previous Assembly, to deal with the persistent socio-economic problems that continue to challenge Liberia.
This edition of the UNGA themed, “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism – Confronting COVID-19 through Effective Multilateral Action,” has seen heads of state staying in their countries and participating via video conference, and not usually flying into New York., due to the threat posed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In the speech, the President pointed out the closure of schools as a step aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic, though he indicated his regret that that led to « an unprecedented recent increase in rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence perpetrated upon young women and girls, who have had to stay at home.”
He called the wave of the sexual violence, inclusive of rape, an epidemic within the COVID pandemic, which prompted his government to take a swift action by convening a National Conference that involved all Sexual and Gender-Based Violence stakeholders.
“This resulted in the validation of a comprehensive roadmap intended to mitigate the incidence of this menace in our society,” said President Weah, a0ding: “Based on the recommendations that emanated from the roadmap, my Government has declared rape as a National Emergency, appointed a Special Prosecutor for rape, set up a Sex Offenders Registry, and established a National Security Task Force on Sexual and Gender Based Violence. »
In the meantime, the Liberian leader reported to the world body regarding national strides to end Female Genital Mutilation.
“For the first time in our country, traditional leaders have agreed to take ownership for ending this harmful practice, » the Liberian leader said.
This, he added, resulted into a first-of-its-kind suspension of the activities of all traditional bush schools in Liberia, where this harmful practice is carried out.
He also referenced the recent passage into law of the Domestic Violence Act seeking to put an end to all forms of violence against women, children and men in the Liberian society.
The fight against graft also formed part of the President’s report to the UNGA: “To call attention to the persistence and prevalence of corruption in our society”, he said, “a National Anti-Corruption Conference was recently held, which was attended by all stakeholders, in an attempt to find practical and lasting solutions to this age-old problem.”
Commenting on the United Nations’ vision to achieve its global goals by 2030, President Weah said it was important for member countries to urgently “review”, “re-focus” and “re-adjust” the priorities thereof “so that it can become more relevant and more effective in meeting the challenges that are today presented by new global alliances and realities. “
In this regard, he added, more attention has to be paid to inclusiveness of “the most vulnerable in our societies whose special needs require a new and different mind-set.”
He continued: “As part of this process of re-evaluation, the United Nations adopted in 2015 a set of seventeen Global Goals to be met by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals, as they are commonly called, are intended to serve as a roadmap for our collective efforts to bring peace and prosperity to all mankind.”
Member countries are already five years into the 15-year Agenda, and with only 10 years left, said President Weah, it is clear that nations re-double their efforts and accelerate the outcome of actions in many areas if the lofty goals must be attained by the end of this decade.
The President hailed the global solidarity seen in the wake of COVID-19, which has « taught us that as countries, whether rich or poor, developed or undeveloped, we are all united by our common humanity,” not without appreciating Liberia’s bilateral and multilateral friends for providing assistance to his government and people.
He recognized that Liberians have been able to build on its previous experience six years ago with the Ebola Virus epidemic, adding: “I am proud to say that the Government and its development partners have mounted a robust National COVID Response that seems to have contained COVID-19 for the time being.”
He reported that as a result of the Response Mechanism, only about 1,320 Liberians have been affected by COVID-19 to date, of which about 1,213 have fully recovered, with some 82 Liberians falling to the pandemic.