By Grace Q. Bryant
The National Elections Commission (NEC) in collaboration with UN-Women Liberia will today launch its protocol on violence against women in elections (VAWiE ) and its action plan.
The NEC’s Gender Director, Leisel Y. Talery, said the objective of the action plan is to support the implementation of the protocol between the NEC and the registered political parties to address VAWIE’s Protocol in Liberia.
She urged participants to use the protocol as working tools to increase women’s political participation and to reduce gaps that hinder women participation.
She emphasized that the commitment contained in the protocol must be implemented by the signatory actors and institutions; the expected result cannot be achieved with collaboration and support of other key stakeholders including security agencies, the Judiciary and citizens in general as key actors of electoral processes.
She maintained that the consultation carried out in December 2019 showed that violence has several aspects including verbal or negative attacks and insult, physical attacks to women candidates or their support as well as the destruction of electoral materials mainly for women
Meanwhile, over the weekend, the NEC and partner conducted pre-trainings with political parties and CSOs on the implementation VAWiE/P and action plan.
The second phase of the training was held in Monrovia under the theme “Promoting an inclusive and safe environment for the participation of women in elections & politics.”
The activities included promoting public awareness on democratic values and gender equity focusing on rural areas and traditional leaders.
Some strategies were formulated to strengthen the implementation of the protocol and existing corresponding/ aligned laws and policies, and therefore engaging, mobilizing security agencies and the Judiciary on their roles in ensuring the peaceful, transparent, free, fair electoral process.
The oversight Commissioner, Gender Section, Josephine K. Gaye, explained that the activities on the implementation started 2019 with the support from the UN-Women and the engagement with the Commission.
Madam Gaye noted that they have gathered important views on the recommendation to adopt and commit to the VAWiE Protocol.
“So, political parties and CSO groupings can adhere to violence against women and stop committing violence against women in elections because we are perpetrators of the violence against each other,” she added.
According to Madam Gaye, after all the consultations reviewed by stakeholders, the political parties agreed to finally sign the protocol.
Madam Gaye revealed that they have 33 registered political parties in Liberia, adding that 28 members signed the protocol.
By Grace Q. Bryant