The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2014/181) issued on 13 March 2014.
The availability of reliable data on sexual violence remains a critical challenge, but reports indicate that 2013 has seen an overall increase in the number of reported sexual violence crimes. The increase could be attributed to positive efforts by national stakeholders and the United Nations system to raise awareness and enable reporting. Data from the Ministry of Gender and Development for 2013 indicate an increase in the number of cases of sexual violence against children aged 6-14 years (as at November 2013, 90 per cent of the 1,175 cases of sexual and gender-based violence seen by four “one-stop facilities” in Montserrado county involved children). At least 10 children died as a direct result of rape. Given the high number of underage victims, a child-centred approach to prevention is crucial. Also crucial is the adoption of a comprehensive national approach to prevention in order to ensure service coverage throughout Liberia, not only in Monrovia, where most of the services are concentrated. The first medical forensic laboratory for Liberia, which was launched on 16 August 2013 in Monrovia, will contribute to enhancing evidence-gathering capabilities so as to facilitate the prosecution of suspects in rape cases. With the support of civil society, the United Nations and other international partners, the Government has continued to conduct awareness- raising campaigns and activities, particularly to address rape. An evaluation of the joint programme of the United Nations and the Government of Liberia on prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence undertaken in April 2013 highlighted the need to further strengthen legal responses and improve coordination among service providers, to strengthen community ownership through the decentralized implementation of the joint programme and to increase the engagement of men in activities to combat conflict-related sexual violence, with a focus on prevention and an emphasis on attitudinal and behavioural change.
I urge the Government, with the support of the United Nations, to put in place a comprehensive prevention strategy that includes more systematic monitoring, analysis and reporting as a basis for response at all levels, while maintaining the emphasis on multisectoral service provision for survivors. Addressing impunity continues to be critical for deterrence and, ultimately, for the prevention of sexual violence crimes.