The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Resident Representative in Liberia, Stephen Rodriques, has made the call for more to be done aimed at addressing the issue of impunity for perpetrators of Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) related crimes in Liberia.
He made the call Tuesday, when he spoke at the JFK Memorial Medical Center, at a ceremony marking the handover of forensic equipment and a DNA machine by the European Union and the United Nations, to the Government of Liberia.
The handover of the forensic equipment and a DNA machine buttresses the Spotlight Initiative seeking to abolish all forms of violence against women and girls.
Rep Rodriques noted that reasons including the lack of evidence, being cited in Liberia, for which offenders of SGBV related crimes often go with impunity, are bothersome to him not just because he’s a Resident Rep for UNDP, but as a father and someone who cares about people.
He bemoaned the victimization of babies and teenagers by rapists in the country, and recommended that more be done to ensure that perpetrators and offenders of SGBV related crimes be certainly caught and that punishments for such crimes be severe.
“SGBV is not just an acronym or term, its people,” Rodriques said, lamenting that “They are little kids [and] teenagers that suffer extreme violence, extreme abuse, and extreme pain.”
He disclosed that in fighting crimes, there are two things needed to ensure offenders desist from committing crimes, naming those as the certainty that offenders will be caught and the severity of the punishment when they are caught.
“If you are certain that you will be caught, and that the punishment will be severe, you will think three times before doing the crime,” Rep Rodriques emphasized.
He described the handover of the forensic equipment and a DNA machine as a development initiative geared towards ensuring that offenders will be caught.
He stated that the provision of the equipment and training opportunities is paramount to the UNDP, indicating that the UN body will continue to invest in such direction, because according to him, it is so vital to the UNDP to make offenders know that they will caught and the punishment will be severe.
He added that the provision of the forensic equipment and a DNA machine is also significant because it will enable survivors of SGBV related crimes most of whom he said are little girls and some boys, to have a chance to live decently without fear that they will never again be victimized.