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Rights Groups Want More Attention For Women During Covid-19

Women’s Rights Defenders are calling on the government to design special care for women especially pregnant women at its various health facilities.
According to the rights’ groups, hospitals must have clearer information about the covid-19 vaccine if the public is to access it and that the results from the testing for the virus should be made available within real time.
The women also want reduction in transport fare and that taxes on businesses as well as proper orientation be given to security apparatus on how to enforce compliance of covid-19 regulations on the population during this period of the pandemic.
The women made the call recently at a one-day seminar intended to strengthen the protection of women in line with their rights and the vulnerability of the human rights defenders in West Africa.
The participants were drawn from various communities to include Johnsonville, Fish Market, Sayon Town, Benson Street, Swakamore, Newport Street, Dixville, Mount Barclay, Bardnesville, among other communities within Montserrado County.
Addressing participants during the event, the Chairperson of the Board of the Liberia Coalition Human Rights Defenders (LICHRD), Neidoteh Boye Torbor, urged the women defenders to make use of the knowledge acquired.
He said the training is to ensure that women’s human rights defenders are protected in relations to the due process of law in line with their work or during their advocacies.
Torbor stressed the need for defenders to share their experiences about the ongoing pandemic adding, “This will help your compatriots likewise your communities; as this has become everybody’s business and not only the government.”
LICHRD’s Consultant, Duwana Kingsley, historicizing women’s human rights defenders in West Africa, said it was initiated in Lome, Togo in 2015, thereafter numerous conferences were held about the idea in several capitols in the region.
He stated amongst many things that it stems from the backdrop that rights issues had been male dominated but following the introduction of women’s rights, campaigners changed the narratives to the extent it is no longer men’s affairs.
Nearly all of the discussants spoke about health issues and how disinformation or misinformation in the public domain on the pandemic, the lack medicines (drug), beds as well as proper care for pregnant women at various hospitals amongst others have infringed on the rights of women.
The participants also talked about the decline in businesses, limited income, closure of schools, budget shortfall, inability to pay back loans borrowed from various banks, women becoming single parent.
The women’s human rights defenders complained about lockdown (curfew) if there will come a time that, that should be made effective, domestic violence, rape, severe punishment for lawbreakers who failed to wear facemask, traveling restrictions and more.
The seminar was organized by the Liberia Coalition of Human Rights Defenders and funded by the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Networks (WAHRD).

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