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UN reports high incidences of rape, impunity in Liberia

[JURIST] A United Nations report [text, download] released Friday documents high rates of rape and perpetrator impunity in Liberia. The report, released by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official websites], noted [UN report] that rape was the "second-most commonly reported serious crime in Liberia" between January 2015 and March 2016. According to the World Health Organization [official website], between 61 and 77 percent of women in Libera report having been raped during the nation's 14-year civil conflict. Despite these staggering numbers, there still exists "a widespread culture of impunity for [sexual and gender-based violence], particularly for rape, putting women and children at continued serious risk of sexual violence." The report made numerous suggestions to work towards a fix, including the creation of a sex crimes prosecutors office, amending the penal code and enhancing investigations of rape allegations.

Sex and gender-based violence continues to be a worldwide issue. Earlier this week, Indonesia passed a controversial law [JURIST report] allowing for harsh punishment for pedophiles, including chemical castration, implanting electronic tagging chips in violators, the death sentence, mandatory 10 year imprisonment, and state-sponsored rehabilitation. In early October, the Center for Civilians in Conflict criticized [JURIST report] UN peacekeepers in South Sudan for failing to protect civilians from abuse, including sexual and gender-based violence, during an outbreak of fighting in the country that took place in July. In September, UN experts urged [JURIST report] states to protect women and girls in the movement of refugees and migrants by adhering to international human rights conventions and standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. Migrant women and girls are at a high risk of gender-based violence while in transit and may also face intersecting forms of discrimination based race, nationality, or religion

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