All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ - Edmund Burke

Sept 4, 2008

S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 6 No 8

The Truth Shall Set You Free----------The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth---------Exposing human rights abusers


TRC Sierra Leone

6. Women and girls became particular targets of malice and violence during the conflict. They suffered abduction and exploitation at the hands of the various perpetrator factions. Their vulnerability was deliberately exploited in order to dehumanise them and perpetrate against them the most gross of violations. They were raped, forced into sexual slavery and endured acts of great sexual violence. They suffered mutilations, torture and a host of cruel and inhuman acts. They were taken from their homes and villages by force. Refusal to comply with the demands of their captors often met with death. For those fortunate enough to escape, there followed displacement and separation from families. While some went into exile, many were housed in camps in Sierra Leone and in neighbouring countries. Shockingly, women and girls were not safe even in these camps. Humanitarian workers – meant to offer them respite and protection – also violated their rights. Women and girls were compelled to barter their bodies in order to survive and access aid to which they were rightfully entitled. Girls as young as 12 were forced to pay for aid with sex to secure assistance for their families.

7.Statistics pertaining to the numbers of women affected by the conflict in Sierra Leone remain a huge concern. In 2003, Human Rights Watch published a report in which they stated that as many as 275,000 women and girls may have been sexually violated during the war.

8.While peace has returned to Sierra Leone, many of the wounds still remain open. Women and girls still bear the scars, both physically and psychologically. Many have borne children from their horrific experiences. These children are a daily reminder of their pain and suffering. Many women and girls are shunned and punished by members of a society who refuse to acknowledge that it is their failures that led to this conflict and their failure to protect women and girls that hasled to the plight they find themselves in today. Women and girls who were violated throughout the conflict are ostracised from society forgiving birth to children of “rebels”. It is the price they continue to pay, even today.

9. The UN Secretary-General, in his Twenty-first Report to the Security Council on the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, has stated that “violence against women, including sexual exploitation, as well as discrimination against women in law and in practice and the low rate of participation of women and youth in the political and administrative affairs of the country needs to be addressed.”


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