Emmanuel Bryma Momoh, Sierra Leone, Human Rights Officer, UNMIL
Grand Gedeh County, Liberia: I am Emmanuel Bryma Momoh, a Sierra Leonean by nationality, and a human rights activist. I joined the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) on 4 April 2008 as a UNV volunteer Human Rights Officer in the Human Rights and Protection Section.
My job descriptions are to monitor and report on the human rights situation, and organize training and sensitization campaigns on human rights for specific target groups such as women, youths and other vulnerable groups.
Women continue to face insecurity occasioned by rape, domestic violence and other forms of physical abuse. The constant subjection of women to assault, victimization and stigmatization has been a trend that is of serious concern. Very few cases are properly prosecuted, giving room to increasing impunity; this is mainly because of limited access to justice for women and extra judiciary settlement between the victims’ families and the perpetrators. This, of course, leads to impunity and perpetrates a vicious cycle of violence against women.
In order to grow out of this and break the vicious circle of violence against women, I conducted a day’s workshop on the theme ‘Human Rights and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence [SGBV] Laws’ which attracted 40 community women. In a related development, I also conducted a day’s training session for 15 Liberia National Police Officers in Zwedru as a means of enhancing their capacity in handling cases of sexual and gender-based violence against women.
Additionally, I initiated and facilitated the production of a jingle clip ‘Stop Violence Against Women’ which is now widely and popularly played in all local radio stations in Grand Gedeh County in an effort to fight this perennial problem of violence against women. During the period under review, my activities have received positive consideration from the community and have greatly contributed to breaking the culture of silence and the vicious cycle of violence against women.
No one can therefore deny that the contribution of UNV towards the promotion and protection of human rights and peace of the country is monumental. Indeed, I am convinced that barely six months of my assignment in the field has left behind footprints in the hearts of many Liberians.
As we work as UNV, we should not forget that we have a sacred duty to ourselves, to our colleagues, and to the communities in which we serve. Therefore, public-spiritedness should be a cardinal virtue that we must all cultivate if volunteerism must mean anything to us.
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