Liberian President George Weah, has declared rape a national emergency in the country after a recent increase in rape cases.
Late on Friday, Weah said he would install a special prosecutor for rape in Liberia, set up a national sex offender registry, while ordering new measures to tackle the problem.
The statement by Weah comes after thousands of Liberians protested against increased rape cases in the capital Monrovia last month, in a bid to highlight the country’s alarming rate of sexual assault.
Addressing the meeting, the one time Ballon d’or winner said Liberia was “witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country.”
Weah also announced that the government will also establish a so-called “national security task force” on sexual- and gender-based violence.
A 2016 UN report recorded 803 rape cases the previous year in the country saying only two percent of sexual violence cases led to a conviction, for example.
Margaret Taylor, the director of Liberia’s Women Empowerment Network, told AFP last month that her NGO had recorded 600 cases of rape between June and August, for example.
That was up from between 80 and a hundred cases in May, she said.