The SSR Policy seeks to promote gender equality in Liberia’s security sector and to enhance women’s involvement in promoting decentralized peacebuilding efforts.

Deputy Justice Minister for Administration and Public Safety says the Government of Liberia remains committed to working to ensure that all its programmes and policies are gear toward improving the lives of Liberians.

Madame Juah Nancy Cassell said this new government will exert all efforts to transform the lives of the people through the right policies and programmes and will not be ‘business as usual’.

 “We insist that this new dispensation is not about business as usual, we must be assertive in driving the ‘pro-poor agenda’ of the government,” said Madame Cassell Tuesday at the validation meeting on the Gender and Security Sector Reform (SSR) policy review in Monrovia.

The Deputy Justice Minister for Administration said there is a need to strengthen women’s participation in the management of national security from top to bottom, adding that, the Liberian Government should not lose sight of the continuous fight against sexual exploitation and abuse including sex for promotion on jobs.

Support to the SSR policy comes from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Women, and the International Organization on Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Liberian government, with funding from the Peace-building Fund.

The policy seeks to promote gender equality in Liberia’s security sector and to enhance women’s involvement in promoting decentralized peacebuilding efforts to build and sustain trust between and among security institutions.

The draft security sector reform (SSR) policy and legal framework documents were submitted by Sue Tatten, UNDP Consultant on Gender and Security Sector Reform, to give security institutions the opportunity to provide their inputs in developing the policy.

“The authorities of the new administration of the Ministry of Justice, and my office in particular that is responsible for direct supervision of the Gender and Security Sector National Taskforce (GSSNT), takes keen note of the 15 point-recommendations of this SSR Policy and Legal Framework review,” Tatten indicated.

She called for a unified gender policy to cut across all security sectors, stressing, that women can only compete with their male counterparts if the women are provided the requisite skills.

“There is a need for women in the security sector to be in leadership positions in Liberia,” Ms. Tatten concluded.

Speaking on behalf of UNDP and partners, Maarten Barends, UNDP Chief Technical Advisor and Program Manager of the GOL/UNDP/UNMIL Joint Rule of Law Program said women and girls in Liberia, are frequently exposed to issues of female genital mutilation, economic dependence and persistent nonsupport in the country.

Mr. Barends said women and girls continue to face varying issues of  insecurity across the country, even after the end of the civil crisis.

He said UNDP is taking note of best practices from other countries about ways of promoting and improving the gender responsiveness of the security sector in Liberia.

The project will work closely with the Gender and Security Sector National Taskforce to regularly engage and coordinate activities with the key security institutions- the Liberia National Police, the Liberia Immigration Service, the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency and the Ministry of Defense (including the Armed Forces of Liberia).

Toward this end, a joint program under the theme, ‘Inclusive Security-Nothing for Us without Us, has been established. It is aimed at’ aimed at enhancing the capacity of the national justice and security institutions to prevent and respond to all forms of violence against women.

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