WOLPNET: ‘FGM, Early Marriage Unacceptable

Press Release | November 12, 2013

The Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET) has described the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Liberia, as unacceptable and should be abolished.

In a press release yesterday, WOLPNET described the practice as a violation of human rights. The local women’s rights group’s assertion followed its recent engagements with Liberians in Bomi, Lofa and Grand Cape Mount Counties on the way forward to end female genital mutilation and early marriage.

“These practices contravene international laws like the African Union (AU) Protocol and CEDAW, to which Liberia is a signatory,” the organization said.

Quoting young women in said counties, who were directly affected by these cultural practices, WOLPNET said, “Most of them were taken to the ‘Sande’ Bush as children and went through the process against their will.”

WOLPNET also said the women explained they, “learned some good things while they were admitted into the traditional bush.”

“While the rights group bitterly frowned on FGM we also recognize some positive things that come out of the traditional school, such as training in household care, respect for elders, dancing, singing and other morals,” said WOLPNET’s Acting Executive Director, Marian Gonyor.

The release quoted her as saying, “The key unacceptable issue is the unhealthy condition under which the girls and women stay in while in the bush.”

The group said it has begun rolling out plans to partner with relevant civil society organizations and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to develop an implementable plan-of-action tool to abolish FGM and early marriage.

WOLPNET has meanwhile called on the Liberian government to intervene and modify the aspect of the Liberian culture that has to do with cutting women, many of whom are often forcefully initiated into the Sande bush and given out early for marriage when they should be in school.

The group said the elimination of the practice of FGM is a campaign that every Liberian must join. The group urged Liberians to wake up to the reality of modernization and save our future generation.