Media Release: Nobel Peace Laureates inspired by visit with Liberian women

(Monrovia)—This delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative—led by Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi and Mairead Maguire—is honored to have visited Liberia and learn first-hand from women’s organizations, government officials and women community leaders the powerful work being done in this country to end gender violence and bring about lasting peace and reconciliation.  We are deeply moved by the resilience and strength of Liberian women, and look forward to sharing with women in other conflict and post-conflict regions of the world the stories and experiences of Liberian women in building peace.

Last Sunday, the delegation attended services at St-Peter’s Lutheran Church in Monrovia, and then met with the church’s leadership and trauma counselors.  The delegation also met with youth and student leaders from around Monrovia, visited a local prison and hospital and heard from women from an HIV-AIDs network.

Our six-day delegation also included a meeting with the women of Rockhill community in Monrovia and a visit outside of Monrovia to Totota in Bongo County, where we met with women activists from the Women in Peace Building Network at a local peace hut. Yesterday, the delegation met with President Sirleaf, officials from the Justice Ministry, the Chief Prosecutor of Liberia’s Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Unit, Felicia Coleman and officials from UN Women.

As part of our mandate to amplify the voices of women working for peace around the world, we wish to reinforce some of the key priorities identified by women peacebuilders we met in Liberia:

  • Support for the grassroots women’s organizations that helped to bring about peace in Liberia, and continue to work to empower women and girls who are working to bring an end to rape and other forms of gender violence.
  • Provide transportation for community police and others working to respond to rape and violence against women and girls at the community level.
  • Start to heal the wounds of rape and sexual violence by providing reparations to communities deeply impacted by such violence in the war; such reparations can be used to respond to community priorities including basic services and alternative justice mechanisms such as peace huts.
  • Prioritize reform of the justice system and the effective prosecution of rape cases—especially those perpetrated against children—as a more powerful deterrent for ending rape and sexual violence in this post-conflict period of Liberia’s history.

From Liberia, the delegation goes to the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where it will share what it learned in Liberia with African leadership.

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For more information:

Rachel Vincent, Media Manager, Nobel Women’s Initiative
rvincent@nobelwomensinitiative.org
+ 231-888-340-370

Kimberley MacKenzie, Coordinator of Online Media & Outreach
kmackenzie@nobelwomensinitiative.org
+1-613-569-8400