Domestic Violence Act Faces Setback – As Stakeholders Express Disappointment

Disappointments were seen expressed on the faces of international and local dignitaries when they watched Members of the House of Representatives deliberately avoiding the timely passage of the ‘Domestic Violence Act of 2014 after hours of deliberation.

The Domestic Violence bill has been one of the many bills that have been lingering at the National Legislature because of the high incidence of domestic violence within the Liberian society.

Dignitaries including the U.S. Embassy, Ambassador Christine Elders, Gender Minister, Williametta Peso Saydee-Tarr, development partners, women groups and other were anticipating that the House of Representatives would have passed the Domestic Violence Act overwhelmingly.

The bill was reintroduced by River Cess County Representative, Rosana G.B. Schaack after it was passed previously by 53rd House of Representatives and forwarded to that Senate for concurrence and it met stiff resistance because of some traditional issues that confronted it.

In a brief interview with The Monrovia Times, Minister Saydee-Tarr expressed disappointment and frustration in the continuous delay in the passage of the act that has been around more five years since the former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s regime.

Minister Saydee-Tarr noted that though she is disappointed, she at the same time said there is hope that the bill will be passed this week Thursday, the day which was agreed upon by the plenary.

“We are prayerful that on Thursday of this week, we will get a good result from the lawmakers on the passage of the bill into law,” adding that the lawmakers in their own wisdom will see reasons to pass the bill.

She urged that this is the time that all Liberians need to be in the fight for the passage of the Act into law because the domestic violence bill resonates to every Liberian and it will benefit everybody including non-Liberians.

Minister Tarr indicated that it is very important for the bill to be passed because Liberia has been among those countries that sign several international protocols and treaties; as such it must be on par with other countries that have enacted domestic laws.

She said: “If this bill is passed it will help us assure the international community that we are serious people and ready for business.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, Minister Tarr has lauded the Members of the House of Representatives for their services to the Liberian people but called on all Liberians including Civil Society Organizations, pressure groups to join the fight in making sure that this bill is passed into law.

Also in an interview with the press, the House’s Judiciary Committee, Chair Representative J. Fonati Kofa considered the decision of the plenary to pass the bill on Thursday of this week as a victory, he stated further that the bill was not passed not because they don’t want it but simply because some lawmakers wanted to get an in-depth understanding of the bill before its passage.

The Grand Kru County Representative Kofa said his colleagues want an opportunity to look at the bill, restricting those aspects that are not in line with our constitution so that they can be able to realize that the Act in itself is strong.

A motion from the Nimba County Representative Jeremiah Koun of which reconsideration was tested with twenty-seven votes in favor and six votes against was finally accepted by that plenary so that it can be passed on Thursday, July 4, 2019

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