By Fred Yeegbeh, Jr in Lower Nimba (Contributor)
In an effort to fully capacitate stakeholders in Rural areas in dispensing justice, the Rural Integrated Center for Community Empowerment (RICCE), a non-governmental organization, with support from the United Nations Development Program, UNDP, and the United Nations Commission on Human Right Joint Rule of Law Program, has ended a two-day training workshop for more than sixty formal and informal justice officials in Saclepea city, Central Nimba County.
The workshop which was held recently brought together key stakeholders associated with justice and local governance including magistrates, city solicitors, district commissioners, correction officers, gender workers, health workers, police officers, town chiefs, and youth amongst others.
The training which was held in the conference hall of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf City Hall was under the theme ‘Understanding the Individual’s Role and Responsibility of Stakeholders in dealing with Sexual and Gender Based Violence’.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Executive Director of RICCE, Madam Salome Gofan said the objective of the training was to “strengthen the capacity of informal and formal justice officials, service providers, and communities, to understand and appreciate the individual roles and responsibilities of each stakeholders in dealing with sexual and gender based violence cases occurring in their communities and to further build strong network for ending sexual gender based violence”. Madam Gofan called on the participants for a concerted effort in ending SGBV in the country.
“We have recorded a very high number of gender based violence cases in Nimba since 2015,” She added.
Madam Gofan who described rapists and those who take unfair advantage of women as ‘heartless men’ said she hopes that the training will give participants a broader knowledge on the elimination of Sexual Gender Based Violence.
She added that each of those stakeholders should now come to know their role in dealing with Sexual Gender Based Violence in their respective communities.
Remarking at the workshop was the City Mayor of Saclepea City, Jerry Yangian affirmed the support of the city cooperation to the work of RICCE and the protection of all; especially women and girls in the city and county.
“We are committed to the project and upholding the rule of law in our city,” Hon. Yangian asserted.
RICEE with support from UNDP and other partners in May of this year launched an eight month project titled ‘Accelerating Access To Justice For Survivors Of Rape, Domestic Violence And Socially Disadvantaged Group Particularly Women and Girls’ Through Survivors Support and Pro Bono Legal Services Project in Bahn City.
One of the major components of said project is to build the capacity of stakeholders to take lead in community response level to domestic violence.
The training dealt with various topics such as Introduction to Human Rights-Basic Human Rights principles relative to women and children rights, Liberian Government’s Role in Combating SGBV, amongst others, with legal practitioners deliberating.
Since its launch, RICCE in collaboration with partners has provided training to key stakeholders in the informal and formal justice sector of the country in five administrative districts including Zoegeh, Buuyao, Saclepea Mah, Gbehlaygeh and Twah River.
Some of participants told journalists after the workshop that it served as an opener for them and it will help in fighting the SGBV.
Meanwhile, participants at the two day forum have identified ‘traditional beliefs’ as one of the major challenges in fighting SGBV.
They maintained that some of them are not succeeding in their endeavor to eliminate SGBV and other domestic violence because sometimes community and relatives of SGBV survivors come to quickly compromise it because of tradition.
Key facilitators of the workshop included Attorney Massayan Matthews, Ministry of Justice SGBV Chief prosecutor for Nimba County and Attorney Augustine Tebleh, RICCE Legal Consul.