Concerns over traditional and cultural practices in Liberia detailed in report

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A young girl in Monrovia, Liberia. UN Photo/Staton Winter

The negative impacts of traditional and cultural practices on human rights in Liberia have been detailed in a new report from the United Nations.

Such practices include, among other things, female genital mutilation, forced initiation into secret societies, accusations of witchcraft and ritualistic killings.

More now from Matthew Wells.

The report released by the UN's Human Rights office shows that such violations disproportionately affect women, children and the elderly; as well as other vulnerable people including those who are destitute or disabled.

Some 58 per cent of Liberian women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation; with those from poor households twice as likely to have experienced it as those from wealthier families.

The report also notes that accusations of witchcraft are common in Liberia and can have devastating impacts on the accused, including being subjected to 'exorcism' rituals, being ostracized and even being killed.

Many of these practices go unpunished because they are perceived to be cultural issues, rather than crimes.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said state authorities must work harder to prevent such violations and insure perpetrators are prosecuted, while doing more to rehabilitate victims.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 52″

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