FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP via Getty Images.

Liberian President George Weah addresses the audience as he visits the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, in Paris on February 20, 2018.

Liberia Officially Declares Rape a National Emergency

The move comes after protests this past month which saw thousands of Liberians demonstrating against the alarming rise in the rate of sexual assault.

The Liberian government has recently declared rape a national emergency, according to Aljazeera. The move comes after mass protests last month, dubbed "March for Justice", which saw Liberians demonstrating against the alarming rise of sexual assault in the West African country. The government, under current President George Weah, has announced that it will be introducing new measures to tackle the crisis in addition to setting up a national security task force.


READ: #WeAreTired: Nigerians Rally Online to Demand Justice for Victims of Police Brutality & Sexual Violence

Last month, the city of Monrovia was rocked by thousands of Liberians protesting in order to bring attention to the alarming rise in the rates of rape and sexual assault in the country.

In an address by President Weah, he said that the country was "witnessing what is actually an epidemic of rape within the pandemic, affecting mostly children and young girls across the country." Additionally, Liberia has also been experiencing continued protests as discontent under President Weah grows. Many have called for the statesman to step down amid a spiralling economy and alleged corruption at the hands of his government.

Liberia is neither the first nor the last African country to declare rape a national emergency or crisis.

This past June, Nigeria declared a state of emergency on rape with 36 governors saying that they are "committed to ensuring that offenders face the maximum weight of the law." Similarly, Sierra Leone also declared a national emergency on rape last year. In stark contrast, South Africa, which is home to the highest femicide rate in the world and generally high incidents of gender-based violence, has yet to declare any state of emergency with regards to the continued violation of South African women. Despite protests, both in the form of online movements and on-the-ground demonstrations, the numbers are on the increase.

Interview

Angelique Kidjo Writes a Love Letter to 'Mother Nature'

We talk to the Beninese musical icon about assembling her new album on Zoom and the "bigger than COVID-19" threat that lies ahead!

The kind of infectious energy that lives within Angelique Kidjo can't be contained by Zoom. Her zest for life reaches out far beyond any screen, and burns stronger than the fastest internet connection.

"I can't wait until we're in person hugging again," she enthuses soon after joining our Zoom meeting to discuss her latest album Mother Nature. Having been on the receiving end of a hug from the four-time Grammy-winning singer, I know exactly what I'm missing out on. "Me too," I say, as I wrap my arms around my laptop, my face squishing the screen. "No, no," she retorts. "I don't want that. You keep it. I want the real deal," she chuckles, her full-bodied trademark laughter lovingly admonishing me.

The Benin-born musician is preparing to release Mother Nature, a collection of songs reflecting our one Earth, and cementing her status as an African musical icon. Collaborating with the likes of Yemi Alade, Mr Eazi, Burna Boy, Sampa the Great, Shungudzo and more, Kidjo's crossing through time and space, over age and country through Mother Nature's themes and stories. Each track is infused with a vigor that only she possesses — the kind that shares a significant message even as the listener is called to just dance or sing along.

Below, Angelique Kidjo reminisces about making the album, and chats us through her hopes and dreams for it!

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