• Jan 24, 2011
    Throughout 2010 the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma made meaningful progress in addressing endemic corruption and improving access to justice and key economic rights, notably health care and education. Endemic public and private corruption has for decades undermined development, and was one of the major factors underpinning the 11-year armed conflict that ended in 2002.
  • Jan 20, 2010
    Throughout 2009 the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma made notable progress in addressing endemic corruption and weak rule of law, thus distancing Sierra Leone further from the issues that gave rise to its 11-year armed conflict that ended in 2002. However persistent weaknesses within the police and judiciary, and several risk factors—notably the global economic crisis, high unemployment, and growing insecurity in neighboring Guinea— illuminated the fragility of these gains.
  • Jan 14, 2009
    The government of President Ernest Bai Koroma, elected in 2007, made concerted efforts to address the issues which gave rise to the brutal 11-year armed conflict that ended in 2002—rampant corruption, gross public financial mismanagement, inadequate distribution of the country’s natural resources, and weak rule of law. However, resistance to the reform agenda from some influential members of government threatened these efforts. Meanwhile, serious deficiencies in the police and judiciary continue to undermine fundamental human rights.
  • Feb 5, 2008
    Sierra Leone is making some political progress as the country begins to put behind it the legacy of the 11-year civil war that ended in 2002, but still faces fundamental challenges to ensuring the consolidation of respect for human rights. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars of development aid, rampant corruption and gross public financial mismanagement persist, along with major deficiencies in the justice system.
  • Jan 30, 2006
    While the end of Sierra Leone’s brutal armed conflict in 2002 brought an end to the gross violations of human rights that characterized the eleven-year armed conflict, there is growing recognition by the international community and Sierra Leonean civil society that the government has done little to address the issues that gave rise to the conflict—endemic corruption, weak rule of law, and the inequitable distribution of the country’s vast natural resources. The government’s refusal to do more to address crushing poverty in the face of high unemployment among young adults and continuing insecurity within the sub-region renders Sierra Leone vulnerable to future instability. 2005 also saw a rise in attacks against the Sierra Leonean press. Persistent inadequacies in the police and judiciary continue to undermine improvements in implementing the rule of law in Sierra Leone. However, through the efforts of the United Nations-mandated Special Court for Sierra Leone, significant progress continues to be made in achieving accountability for war crimes committed during the war. Meanwhile, the government was resistant to implementing key recommendations made by Sierra Leone’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and has yet to appoint commissioners to the National Human Rights Commission, established by parliament in 2004.
  • Jan 30, 2005

    The human rights situation has vastly improved since Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war was officially declared over in January 2002. However, implementation of the rule of law remains weak and questions remain about the government’s willingness to guarantee economic, social, and cultural rights. The mismanagement and corruption of public funds, coupled with high unemployment among young adults, a drastic increase in basic commodity prices, and continued insecurity within the sub-region, render Sierra Leone vulnerable to future instability.

    Sierra Leone's civil war was characterized by egregious human rights abuses on all sides but especially by rebel forces. A confluence of factors helped end the war, including the deployment of a 17,000-member United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping force known as UNAMSIL, a U.N. arms embargo against neighboring Liberia, and the commitment of British troops to stop a rebel advance against the capital, Freetown, in 2000. Despite the disarmament of some 47,000 combatants, and the successful completion of presidential and parliamentary elections in 2002 and local elections in 2004, the deep rooted issues that gave rise to the conflict—endemic corruption, weak rule of law, crushing poverty, and the inequitable distribution of the country's vast natural resources—remain largely unaddressed by the government.