Sowing Terror

Atrocities Against Civilians in Sierra Leone

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In a report released today, Human Rights Watch condemns the war of terror now underway against civilians in Sierra Leone, and calls on the international community to take emergency measures to end the killings, amputations, and abductions taking place in that civil war. Members of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the rebel alliance in Sierra Leone, have been committing gross human rights violations since February 1998, when they were ousted from power.The Human Rights Watch report, Sowing Terror: Atrocities Against Civilians in Sierra Leone, coincides with a special conference at the United Nations headquarters tomorrow in New York to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone. Human Rights Watch also reports that forces fighting on behalf of President Kabbah have committed human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. Among other concerns, Civilian Defense Forces (CDFs) have committed numerous abuses, including killings, torture and the obstruction of humanitarian assistance. Despite promises of the Sierra Leone government to demobilize all combatants under the age of 18, recent reports indicate that the CDFs continue to recruit children on a large scale.

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