HIV, Control of the Disease and Related Issues (Amending Title 33) (the “Law”), institutes various government initiatives and provides guidance in dealing with HIV-related issues specifically affecting women. For example, the Law provides that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and/or National AIDs Commission (the “Health Institutions”) must take into consideration differences in sex and gender when providing education about HIV. Additionally, the Law lists a number of key issues which the Health Institutions should address in their strategies and programs for protecting and fulfilling the human rights of women in the context of HIV. These include:
- The equality of women in public and domestic life (Section 18.9(i));
- Sexual and reproductive rights, including the concept of consent and a woman’s right to refuse sex and her right to request safe sex (Section 18.9(ii));
- A woman’s right to independently utilise sexual health services (Section 18.9(ii));
- Increasing educational, economic, employment and leadership opportunities for women (Section 18.9(iii));
- Strategies for reducing differences in formal and customary law which prejudice women’s rights (Section 18.9(v)); and
- The impact of harmful traditional practices on women (Section 18.9(vi)).
Furthermore, the Law directs the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Justice, and the Liberian National Police to implement educational programs for their personnel in relation to sexual assault perpetrated on women. These are designed to provide personnel working for these government agencies with a better understanding of sexual assault and protect the rights of sexual assault victims.