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HRC – Report of the UPR Working Group on Liberia
November 1, 2010

9th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group

UPR Session for Liberia

Statement by the Delegation of the United States

Delivered by Osman N. Tat

UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland

November 1, 2010

Thank you Mr. President:

The United States warmly welcomes Minister Christiana Tah and the Liberian delegation to the UPR Working Group. We would like to raise the following issues and recommendations.

The United States commends Liberia for the measures it has taken to protect and promote the civil and political rights of its citizens. We especially welcome the recent passage of Liberia’s Freedom of Information Act as a measure to strengthen transparency and open governance. We applaud Liberia as the first West African nation to have passed such a law. We also commend Liberia for the introduction of a “Decent Work Bill” to improve workers’ rights.

We note that Liberia has addressed in its national report the grave issue of gender-based violence, particularly rape, against girls and women. We do take note of the statements that you have made here today to address the issue. However, the United States still remains concerned at the high levels of sexual violence committed in Liberia.

As noted in the OHCHR and your national report, there is a high prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) performed on young girls, particularly in rural areas. The CEDAW and CRC committees, as well as the OHCHR have urged Liberia to adopt and implement legislation prohibiting FGM. While you have noted the steps that your government has taken so far in order to fight this phenomenon and educate your people on the harmful effects of FGM, does Liberia plan to adopt and implement such legislation?

Recommendations: Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following recommendations:

1. The United States recommends the Government move forward with efforts to expand the work of the Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Unit, under the Ministry of Justice, and to create permanent SGBV Units around the country.

2. The United States recommends that the Government increase public awareness campaigns against FGM, and bring its legislation into conformity with its international human rights obligations by criminalizing the practice.

Thank you, Mr. President.