Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 29, 2017

Human Rights for Women in Liberia (and West Africa): Integrating Formal and Informal Rule of Law Reforms through the Carter Center’s Community Justice Advisor Project

Paul J. Zwier

Abstract

This article will first describe the problem of Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) in Liberia, its history to views of its current status, and the debate about its cause. It will discuss the problems that result through trying to address the problem of SGBV through both formal and informal rule of law development strategies, including both traditional and customary dispute resolution processes within the Liberian setting. It will also describe the reasoning behind The Carter Center (TCC’s) support of traditional and community-based projects, including its use of NGO social science research in helping it monitor the progress being made in fighting SGBV. It will be a tale of discouragement as assessment showed the continuing prevalence of SGBV. Next the paper will discuss what led TCC to develop its Community Justice Advisor (CJA) Project. It will describe the project and its implementation. Finally it will look at the research attempts to measure CJA’s success and predict whether funding of additional CJAs will likely be effective in combating SGBV. It will conclude by making some modest observations about whether CJAs might work elsewhere in Africa, or in the developing world, and the promise and dangers of using individual paralegals as a major tool in combating SGBV.

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Published Online: 2017-7-29
Published in Print: 2017-9-26

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