The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2015/203) issued on 23 March 2015.
Twelve years after the end of the civil war, sexual violence continues to present a significant threat to the physical security of women and children across Liberia. The social breakdown that occurred during 14 years of brutal conflict, in which sexual violence was rampant, has left a profound imprint on Liberian society, especially as the issue was not addressed during the peace process. The rape of minors is the most frequently reported incident of sexual and gender-based violence. Available information also points to a disturbing trend of increasing sexual violence committed by minors. According to official data from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, in 2014 there were 1,392 incidents of sexual and gender-based violence nationwide, with the majority taking place in Montserrado county, where the most services and reporting structures exist. Of these, 626 were cases of rape, with 605 of the victims under 18. Nine “one-stop centres” recorded 1,162 cases, of which 965 were rapes, 27 were gang rapes and 85 were sexual assaults. The United Nations-Government of Liberia Joint Programme on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, established in 2008 with support from United Nations Action against Sexual Violence in Conflict, has made commendable progress in strengthening the criminal justice system; building the capacity of health and psychosocial service providers as well as the police through the expansion of the Women and Child Protection Section of the Liberian national police; and raising awareness at community level to challenge harmful traditional beliefs and practices that perpetuate impunity and blame the victim. Regrettably, as a result of the Ebola virus epidemic, many sexual and gender-based violence treatment facilities have closed and are not prioritized for reopening.
I call on the Government of Liberia to continue its critical efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence including through the United Nations-Government of Liberia Joint Programme, and in the context of recovery from the Ebola virus epidemic.