Liberia: Leading the way on 1325...but Still Some Way to Go
Assistant Commissioner Bennetta Holder Warner sits behind her small brown desk covered with books and paper-filled manila folders papers. Her crisp black uniform shines as if it was just made. The Liberian lady is the head of the Women and children Protection Section, a position and unit that did not exist five years ago.
“In the past there was no such place where women or a child could go and carry a complaint and get redress,” says the Commissioner. “After the war, women and children being the most vulnerable group, it was decided that this section be established specifically for their complaints.”
Fourteen years of civil war in the West African state of Liberia saw some of the worst atrocities women and children have ever experienced on the African continent. More than 60 percent of women say they were raped, according to the United Nations Mission in Liberia. Many were used as sex slaves. Some were taken to war zones to have sex with children for ritualistic purposes, while others were forced to have sex with their own children and brothers. This special police department now operating in every one of Liberia’s fifteen counties was set up to deal with crimes of this nature, partly in response to the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325.