The allegation of rape that has been leveled against two officials of the Government of Liberia in South Korea is extremely embarrassing, and it is also an affront to the presidency because it comes immediately after the President of the Republic of Liberia just addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he declared that the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) was steadily on course in Liberia, and he also pronounced that women’s empowerment was a priority for his administration
It should not come as a surprise that the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MGCSP) has asked the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) to immediately recall, where applicable, the two government officials who are accused of raping two minors in South Korea. It was announced on Friday by the police in South Korea that they had detained two Liberian government officials in connection with the alleged rape of two teenagers who were in South Korea at the time of the incident.
On Thursday, the two officials, who have been identified as Daniel Tarr, who is in his 50s, and Moses Owen Browne, who is in his 30s, were taken into custody without incident at a hotel in the city of Busan, which is located in the southeast of the country. The Busan police claim that this transpired after a friend of the claimed rape survivors reported the case to the authorities. Tarr is the Director of the Department of Marine Environmental Protection, whereas Browne is Liberia’s Permanent Representative to the IMO in London. Both men are based in London.
The initial reports that came out of Seoul, the capital of the Republic of South Korea, suggested that two Liberian officials had been detained on suspicion of rape, and that if they were proven guilty, they would face a minimum sentence of seven years in prison. This information came from Seoul, which is the capital of the Republic of South Korea.
We agree with the appeal made by the Ministry of Gender to the Liberia Maritime Authority to quickly recall these individuals, and the LiMA should not be afraid to take proper action against them if it is determined that they are guilty of any wrongdoing. These proceedings may involve dismissal as well as the pursuit of penalty, both of which are permissible under the laws and jurisdictions of both Liberia and South Korea.
According to a spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry who is stationed in Seoul, the ministry is investigating the possibility of the two Liberians being granted diplomatic immunity.
According to the statements made by the police, they intend to apply for official arrest warrants for both of the individuals. Because of this, they will be able to keep the suspects locked up for a period of up to ten days.
We are making a request to the LiMA that it go beyond merely confirming the accusations and instead declare that it has a policy of “zero tolerance” regarding any and all cases of abuse based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It is not enough to say that the Liberia Maritime Authority absolutely maintains a zero tolerance policy on any and all types of sexual and gender-based offenses and views these allegations of the behavior of its officials as being extremely abhorrent, having no place in any civilized society. Rather, it is necessary to say that the Liberia Maritime Authority views these allegations as having no place in any society and layout actions that can be seen.
We do appreciate the fact that the LiMA has stated that it will assist the government of South Korea in the investigation and has pledged to take appropriate action in accordance with the laws of both national and international law.
The public prosecutors in Busan are quite certain, according to the report that the two Liberian government officials were responsible for the rape of two teenage girls who were staying at the hotel at the time of the incident.
This why we share the same sentiments as the Gender Ministry, which is that the claims of rape are disturbing and upsetting, and that this matter completely contradicts Liberia’s commitment to eliminating the scourge of sexual and gender-based violence. The declaration of a state of national emergency by the President about rape “exists in Liberia, which is something that the whole public is aware of.
Womenvoices has issued a vehement condemnation of the sexual misconduct that has been committed by government employees and has stated that it considers such behavior to be abhorrent and unforgivable.
If the allegations against the two government officials are proven to be true, they have the potential to make Liberia’s fight against rape even more ineffective and to create a barrier to the country’s progress toward achieving Goal 5 of the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which emphasizes the critical importance of putting an end to the violence and exploitation of women and girls.”
We also join the Gender Ministry in their call for all public officials and the general Liberian population to exercise extreme caution in their day-to-day interactions, regardless of whether they take place in Liberia or elsewhere, and to continue their collaboration with the Liberian government in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.
As a result, we are requesting that the relevant authorities, in particular those at the Liberian Maritime Authority and the Presidency, take immediate action in order to spare Liberia the humiliation that could result from this situation.