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National Response

Climate of Impunity
Human Rights Watch is not aware of any prosecutions in the Sierra Leonean courts of any cases of conflict-related sexual violence or other human rights abuses. The lack of both categories of prosecutions is due to a number of factors. Firstly, many survivors simply want to try to forget about the sexual violence and other human rights abuses they have been subjected to and just get on with their lives in post-conflict Sierra Leone, which for many is a daily struggle. Secondly, some women and girls fear reprisals. According to the survey conducted by Physicians for Human Rights, thirteen (or 25 percent) of the fifty-one respondents indicating that their perpetrator should not be punished, expressed this fear.18 Thirdly, women and girls are often ashamed of what happened to them and are therefore reluctant to present themselves in court. Fourthly, women and girls have little faith in the criminal justice system or the customary law system, which were never equipped to deal with crimes of such widespread and systematic nature. If a survivor of sexual violence does decide to prosecute, she is likely to be retraumatized by the whole experience given the very poor track record of the Sierra Leonean criminal justice system. Fifthly, many women and girls lack the financial means to access the court system. As women are generally economically dependent on men, many women who have initiated prosecution of non-conflict-related sexual violence, have dropped their cases once they realize that their husband may be sentenced to prison (dependency means that a previously abducted woman or girl who is still with her rebel "husband" is even more unlikely to bring any charges against him). Sixthly, victims are often not even aware of their rights, given high illiteracy rates, prevalent societal attitudes towards sexual violence, and women's low status in Sierra Leonean society. Many rural women and girls, in particular, see little value in the formal court system as there is often no financial or material benefit from bringing a case. Attitudes towards sexual violence, and the subordinate status of women and girls, mean that there is considerable societal pressure for women not to bring cases before the courts that could bring shame to the extended family, such as sexual violence cases.

The climate of impunity means that violence against women and girls remains a serious problem in post-conflict Sierra Leone. Rape continues to be committed by former rebels, members of the CDF and by civilians who are used to doing what they want with women by force and with impunity. A lawyer who practices in the Eastern Province reported to Human Rights Watch that of the rape victims he was currently representing at least 50 percent had been raped by civilians and the remainder by former combatants.19 Girls continue to suffer the greatest number of sexual assaults: a lawyer who practices in the Freetown area reported to Human Rights Watch that of the at least fifty rape victims she represented at the time of writing, 98 percent are under fourteen years old.20 Although there are no reliable statistics on the incidence of sexual or domestic violence, the police doctor in Connaught Hospital in Freetown, which is the largest government-run hospital in the country, sees about thirty victims of recent rape and sexual assault per month.21 For the reasons enumerated above, this figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Physicians for Human Rights found that 39 percent of respondents expressed concern ("quite a bit" or "extremely worried") about future sexual violence by family members, friends or civilian strangers. Ninety-one women (or 9 percent of all respondents) had experienced sexual abuse, occurring at an average age of fifteen, from family, friends or civilians during their lifetime.22

Despite all these problems, seventeen out of a total of ninety-four respondents (or 18 percent) reporting sexual violence to Physicians for Human Rights supported punishment for "all those involved," thirty women (or 32 percent) supported punishment for the perpetrators, and seventeen women (or 18 percent) supported punishment for the commanders. Thirty-three women believed that punishment of perpetrators would prevent sexual violence from happening to others.23

Corrupt and Ineffective Judiciary
Lack of faith in the system, as the few women who have decided to prosecute non-conflict-related rape have experienced, is fully justified. The judiciary-which, prior to the conflict, barely existed in the provinces, and in Freetown was only accessible to those who had sufficient funds-completely collapsed during the war. Many lawyers fled the conflict, and much of the infrastructure, including the law courts in Freetown, was destroyed. The low salaries of personnel working in the judiciary have meant that magistrates, lawyers, and judges are easy targets for bribery and/or intimidation. In addition to these problems, women who seek justice for crimes of sexual violence have to contend with more gender-specific problems. The judiciary is dominated by men and some of its older members, in particular, do not think rape is a serious crime and that the victims are generally to blame. The legal processes are very cumbersome and open to corruption, factors which favor the perpetrator. At the magistrates court level, it is up to the magistrate to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to submit a case to the High Court and whether to grant bail. As the court system is so overburdened this phase can take weeks or months, and it is not unusual for victims to have to appear over ten times before the case is handed on to the High Court. Magistrates have also been known to grant bail even if the offender and victim live in the same compound, which means that the victim is at risk at least of intimidation and even physical violence.24 Many cases die in the magistrates courts, as victims run out of money, patience, and/or time. Cases at this stage are also frequently dismissed, if, for example, the witnesses do not show in court (after three no shows, the case can be dismissed): witnesses often decide against appearing in court for reasons including intimidation, ignorance of the law, lack of transportation money, and the slow pace at which court cases proceed, or because they simply do not care. The requirement for corroborating evidence is often an obstacle to prosecution and violates international norms.

If the magistrate decides that there is sufficient evidence, the case is handed up to the High Court. Cases in the High Court can also take months especially as there are also continuous indefinite adjournments to contend with. There have been no High Court sittings in the provinces for the past six years, and cases in the provinces have therefore been on indefinite hold. One offender who sexually assaulted two young girls spent five years in pre-trail detention before being sentenced to two years for indecent assault-the five years already served in pre-trial detention were ignored by the court, thus putting the offender in detention for a total of seven years rather than two.25

Need for Law Reform
Both general and customary law offer little protection for women and girls (see above, "Women and Girls Under Sierra Leonean Law"). The misinterpretation of the general law provisions pertaining to rape by members of the criminal justice system means that girls are offered even less protection than adults. There is an urgent need for the laws to be revised: the discriminatory provisions in both general and customary law should be removed and brought into line with international standards of human rights, including in relation to the protection of women and girls from violence. The law relating to rape, in particular, should be simplified as well as strengthened. Specific legislation on domestic violence, which currently does not exist, should be introduced as women seeking legal redress for domestic violence generally face even more difficulty in convincing the police and members of the judiciary that their rights have been violated.26 The constitution should also be amended to remove the exemption for customary law and personal law from the prohibition on discrimination. Ending discrimination under customary law in practice will require a major public education exercise, but, as a start, staff of local courts, especially those presiding over them, should be trained in relation to issues of discrimination and the rights of women under the (revised) constitution and international human rights law. The judiciary and the police force need to be trained on the new laws to ensure that they are properly applied.

The Sierra Leone Police
Prior to the civil war, the Sierra Leone Police had been used by politicians for their own purposes and had not received any substantive training for decades. The attitude of the police force to sexual and domestic violence remains insensitive. Police officers, for example, often do not take reports of rape seriously and chastise women who report domestic violence. There are many problems with police investigations of rape cases. Firstly, the police lack basic investigation skills. Secondly, victims must be examined by state-employed doctors, including police doctors, as only a state-employed doctor can present medical evidence in court. Both the police and other state-employed doctors often charge money for these examinations even though they should be free of charge. Thirdly, both the doctors and the police may be intimidated and/or bribed to drop the cases, or police may demand money from plaintiffs before interviewing witnesses and arranging their transport to court. A nationwide system of Family Support Units (FSUs) is in the process of being established with the support of the British-funded Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project (CCSSP) to deal with cases of sexual and domestic violence.27 To date, however, only a small number of police officers (approximately sixteen) have received some training and much work remains to be done before the FSUs can deal with victims of sexual and domestic violence in an appropriate manner.

The International Response
In addition to funding UNAMSIL, the international donor community pours approximately U.S. $70 million a year into Sierra Leone for humanitarian assistance. Within the overall humanitarian assistance program to Sierra Leone, only a small percentage of funding is targeted to gender-related programs, notwithstanding the large number of girls and women who have been affected by gender-specific abuses. This funding has also come very late: there were no services specifically for survivors of sexual violence before 1999. After the January 1999 invasion of Freetown, the international community finally took note of the scale of sexual and gender-based abuses and started funding small-scale programs in accessible areas. The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) program consistently overlooked the assistance as well as protection needs of abducted women and girls (see below).

Donor funding has contributed to education, adult literacy, health care, trauma counseling, and skills training programs as well as credit and income-generating schemes for a limited number of survivors of sexual violence. These programs need to be expanded into all parts of Sierra Leone, so that more survivors can benefit from these programs. Long-term sexual and gender-based violence programs that aim to educate communities about sexual and domestic violence as well as provide women with health care and some legal aid on a limited scale have been established in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the east and south. These programs have been quite successful in changing the attitudes towards sexual and domestic violence of the IDP communities these programs serviced. They have also empowered rural women to stand up for their rights.

To date, funding for the judiciary has focused on the rehabilitation of the infrastructure of the judiciary, but as the peace in Sierra Leone takes hold, donors, including the British government and the World Bank, are considering funding desperately needed judicial reform programs.

The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration program
The extent to which sexual violence, including sexual slavery, has been ignored throughout the war and in the post-conflict phase is most evident by the lack of attention paid to the thousands of abducted women and girls and their children. The Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) process has completely overlooked the protection needs of these women and children. The lack of clear policy and procedural guidelines on these abductees has meant that the responsibility for these women and girls fell between governmental institutions and implementing agencies, resulting in an ad hoc, inappropriate and inadequate humanitarian response. Little to no funding was allocated to the protection needs of abducted women and children and only a small number of programs that provide education, skills training and counseling were established for them. This important human rights issue was raised on numerous occasions at different levels with the relevant government institutions, donor governments and the World Bank by UNAMSIL and nongovernmental organizations as well as by World Bank consultants in confidential reports, but did not succeed in bringing about any concrete policy decisions.

The needs of abducted girls and women should, however, be considered an inextricable part of the DDR process and a priority issue that should have been addressed during meetings between the U.N. and government officials or rebel leaders prior to the commencement of disarmament. The abducted girls and women should have been registered and interviewed at the same time that their "husbands" entered the DDR program, with the interviews conducted separately from the "husbands." Information on alternative options could have been disseminated at the DDR camps through social workers and orientation sessions. Alternatively, if it had been possible to gain access to the abducted women and children in rebel-held areas before or during the DDR process then contact should have been established to determine total numbers and inform them of the reintegration support and alternative options available to them. Female social workers in the DDR camps could also have counseled the abductees to help them understand the implications of their decisions, and that the decision is theirs. Basic reproductive health services, including testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, should also be provided at DDR camps.

Donors and the government of Sierra Leone must redress their neglect of survivors' protection needs by drastically increasing funding for women's programs and providing women with desperately needed assistance in terms of health, education, trauma counseling, adult literacy and skills training to promote their rehabilitation into society. In addition, donors should fund legal reform and training programs for the judiciary and police, which will contribute to increase the protection of women's human rights. Donors should also learn from their failure in Sierra Leone and ensure that DDR programs in other countries where large numbers of women and girls have been abducted by the fighting forces, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, do integrate the protection needs of these abducted women and girls.28

United Kingdom
The U.K. has played a key role in restoring peace to Sierra Leone. During the May 2000 crisis, British troops deployed to Sierra Leone, and a standby force was deployed offshore ready to provide additional support to UNAMSIL and the Sierra Leone Army, if required. Since the May 2000 crisis, it has provided technical assistance to most government departments and military training to the new SLA, and has publicly committed itself to remain closely involved in Sierra Leone.

The U.K. is the biggest donor in Sierra Leone, and in 2002 contributed £100 million (approximately U.S. $145 million) of which about £50 million (approximately U.S. $73 million) was disbursed through its development agency, the Department for International Development (DFID). DFID-funded programs aim at strengthening the protection and promotion of women's human rights. Since September 2001, the Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project (CCSSP), which is funded by DFID and staffed only by British nationals, has been working to establish a nationwide system of Family Support Units (FSUs) to deal with cases of sexual and domestic violence. Under this system, only female police officers are supposed to interview female victims, while both male and female police officers are responsible for interviewing suspects and witnesses. More officers need to be trained in addition to the sixteen who have received training. As the force has few women, more females need to be recruited so only female police officers interview victims of sexual and domestic violence. The police officers in the FSUs lack strong leadership and require more training and close supervision to ensure that victims are dealt with in a professional and sensitive manner.

DFID also funds a program to promote the participation of women in politics, especially in Parliament, as well as university research into conflict-related sexual violence committed in January 1999.29 DFID has provided £2.5 million (about U.S. $3.5 million) for a three year Law Development Program which aims at rehabilitating the physical infrastructure of the court system, as well as providing training to administrative staff to ensure proper record-keeping of cases. The Law Development Program is under review to determine its future strategy, in particular with relation to legal reform, including customary law. DFID is currently considering funding a three-year program that will establish sexual and physical assault referral centers across the country.

The U.K. has contributed a total of over U.S. $500,000 to the operations of the TRC and its Interim Secretariat. The U.K. has also pledged U.S. $9,110,000 over three years to the Special Court.

United States
In 1999, the U.S. put considerable pressure on the warring parties to seek a negotiated settlement. However, following the breakdown of the peace process in 2000, U.S. policy revolved around ending external support for the RUF, supporting British military actions and transitional justice mechanisms as well as providing humanitarian aid. From 2000 to 2002, the United States contributed a total of U.S. $170 million to Sierra Leone, which was primarily disbursed on food-for-peace programs, the resettlement of displaced persons, and reintegration of former combatants. The U.S. has funded several women's programs, notably in the field of health, including the provision of obstetric surgery and HIV/AIDS education, a sexual and gender-based violence program, a program aimed at promoting women in politics, and micro-finance schemes for women. The Senate's Foreign Relations Committee recommended that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) expand services to rape victims and fund a public education program on women's rights. The U.S., which is a strong supporter of the Special Court, has contributed U.S. $5 million to this body, and pledged an additional $10 million. The U.S. has contributed $500,000 to the TRC.

After the May 2000 crisis, the U.S. initiated a program called Operation Focus Relief (OFR) to train and equip seven battalions of West African troops for peacekeeping with UNAMSIL. In July 2002, the U.S. pledged to help ECOWAS set up military bases for the rapid deployment of troops in conflict areas. The first steps in this assistance program include the installation of a U.S. $5.3 million early-warning satellite communications system, which will link the ECOWAS secretariat with observation centers in four ECOWAS countries.

European Union
The E.U. did not play a key role in responding to the armed conflict and to date has not been a major donor. Since May 2000, the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) has disbursed approximately €30 million (roughly the same in U.S. dollars) in Sierra Leone. Few ECHO-funded programs have directly targeted women. ECHO has funded child protection programs, which have assisted child-mothers who became pregnant as the result of conflict-related sexual violence.

As the situation in Sierra Leone stabilizes, the E.U. will increase its funding to Sierra Leone through the European Development Fund (EDF), which from 2000 to 2002 disbursed €38 million on activities that supported the return to democracy, rehabilitation of infrastructure and resettlement. From 2002 to 2007, a total of €144 million will be made available for disbursement through the EDF on activities that focus on the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, good governance and institutional capacity building. An additional €76 million can be spent on activities outside of these two focal areas.

In 2002, the European Commission funded a two-year program that supports the reintegration of rape victims and other war-affected persons through the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Human rights-related programs funded through the EIDHR, which has €6 million for disbursement over the next three years (2002-5), should include women's rights issues, which the EIDHR seeks to mainstream in all its programs.30

In addition to the U.K., other member states of the E.U. have bilaterally contributed to Sierra Leone. The Netherlands, in particular, has since 1999 funded sexual and gender-based violence programs. The Dutch government has also been a strong supporter of the Special Court and has contributed U.S. $11.4 million, which is approximately 20 percent of the total budget. A donation for the TRC is being prepared at the time of writing, but has not yet been formalized. A small budget for human rights programs was made available for 2002.

United Nations

Security Council, Secretary-General, and UNAMSIL

      Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the members of the Security Council have devoted much attention to the conflict in Sierra Leone. Kofi Annan visited the country in July 1999 and December 2000. The Security Council has frequently denounced the egregious human rights abuses committed during the conflict, in particular by the rebel factions, and has stressed the importance of protecting women in armed conflict.31

Following the failure of the U.N. peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Rwanda, there was substantial pressure on the U.N. to ensure that the UNAMSIL peacekeeping mission would succeed when it was established in October 1999.32 After the slow initial deployment of peacekeepers, which led to the May 2000 crisis, the U.N. committed itself to deploy 17,500 peacekeepers in Sierra Leone: UNAMSIL is the world's largest and most expensive peacekeeping mission, costing the international community over U.S. $700 million annually.33 As of March 31, 2002, there were 17,455 peacekeepers, 259 military observers, 87 civilian police officers as well as 322 international and 552 local civilian staff in Sierra Leone. The mission is now being hailed as a great success, although Human Rights Watch has criticized UNAMSIL on numerous occasions for failing to fulfill its mandate to protect the civilian population.34 In a June 19 report to the Security Council on UNAMSIL, the secretary-general stated that the government security apparatus was not yet capable of protecting Sierra Leone from both internal and external threats and warned that the international community must protect the major investments that had made possible the progress achieved so far.35 On September 24, the Security Council extended UNAMSIL's mandate for a further six months, but envisaged a reduction of 4,500 troops in the peacekeeping mission within eight months. The resolution was based on the recommendation of a further report on UNAMSIL which laid out benchmarks to govern the withdrawal of the U.N. from Sierra Leone, including the ability of the police and army to maintain security, the successful re-integration of ex-combatants, and the situation in the broader sub-region. The resolution also encouraged the government of Sierra Leone to "pay special attention to the needs of women and children affected by the war," and welcomed "the steps taken by UNAMSIL to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children," and encouraged the mission to continue to enforce a policy of "zero tolerance" for such acts. The Security Council also called on states to bring to justice their own nationals responsible for such crimes in Sierra Leone.36

UNAMSIL was initially authorized to field fourteen human rights officers, but for the first two years of UNAMSIL's existence, the human rights unit remained understaffed, which meant that human rights abuses were not effectively monitored. At various times during the lifespan of UNAMSIL, the gender specialist post was not filled. When UNAMSIL's mandate was expanded to 17,500, the human rights unit was authorized to recruit six additional human rights officers and most positions are currently filled. The Physicians for Human Rights report on conflict-related sexual violence was produced in collaboration with the UNAMSIL human rights section and has contributed to focusing the attention of the international community on the issue of sexual violence.

    In October 2000, the Security Council held an Open Session on Women and Armed Conflict and adopted a resolution calling for documenting the impact of armed conflict on women and the role of women in peace-building.37 Since then the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) has undertaken a major study on the impact of armed conflict on women in more than ten countries around the world, including Sierra Leone. In January 2002, a three-woman UNIFEM team visited Sierra Leone in connection with this study.38 UNIFEM also recently appointed a gender and AIDS adviser in Sierra Leone, who is tasked with strengthening the gender division of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs and local women's groups as well as mainstreaming gender in the TRC and Special Court for Sierra Leone. She will also research the relationship between gender, conflict and HIV/AIDS with the aim to increase protection against HIV infection.39

In November 2001, a team from the Training and Evaluation Service of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) conducted a two-week training on gender in peacekeeping. The program involved over 1,000 UNAMSIL peacekeepers and civilian personnel from both Freetown and the provinces. Local human rights activists and women's organizations were invited in order to contribute a domestic perspective on gender issues.

UNAMSIL has funded several women's programs for survivors of sexual violence through various trust funds. These trust funds are normally established for quick impact programs whilst the rehabilitation and reintegration of women who have been abducted and subjected to sexual violence and sexual slavery should be seen as long-term projects.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

      The then U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson visited Sierra Leone in June 1999, while the Lomé peace negotiations were taking place. The purpose of the mission was "to support the peace process, to encourage future programmes for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country, and to draw attention to the plight of children, women and civilians bearing the brunt of the excesses in Sierra Leone."40 OHCHR has provided technical assistance for the establishment of the TRC, but was very slow to issue the funding appeal for the TRC. OHCHR has also assisted in the drafting of the statute for the national human rights commission provided under the Lomé Peace Agreement, but the establishment of this body has not progressed beyond that point.

The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has condemned the human rights situation in Sierra Leone on numerous occasions.41 In August 2001, Radhika Coomaraswamy, the commission's special rapporteur on violence against women, visited Sierra Leone to highlight the gender-specific abuses that thousands of women and girls have been subjected to. She highlighted that "systematic and widespread rape and other sexual violence has been a hallmark of the conflict in Sierra Leone" and noted that "the failure to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence has contributed to an environment of impunity that perpetuates violence against women in Sierra Leone, including rape and domestic violence."42 She therefore stressed the need for accountability for these abuses.

World Bank
The World Bank established a multi-donor trust fund for the DDR program, which is now focused on the reintegration of ex-combatants. As discussed above, the protection needs of abducted women and girls were ignored by the DDR program even though World Bank consultants had raised this issue in their confidential reports. In 2002, the World Bank agreed in principle to allocate U.S. $140 million to support reconstruction and development efforts in Sierra Leone and U.S. $15 million to go towards HIV/AIDS prevention projects there.

18 PHR report, pp. 53-55 and Table 7 at p. 56. Women could select more than one option.

19 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdulai Bangurah (lawyer), Freetown, March 15, 2002.

20 Human Rights Watch interview with Claire Fatu Hanciles (lawyer), Freetown, August 9, 2002.

21 Human Rights Watch interview with Bill Roberts and Anne Hewlett (respectively crime adviser and criminal investigation trainer with the Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project), Freetown, May 1, 2002.

22 PHR report, p. 49.

23 Ibid., p. 54.

24 Human Rights Watch interview with John Bosco Alieu (lawyer), Freetown, February 26, 2002.

25 Human Rights Watch interview with Abdulai Bangurah (lawyer), Freetown, March 15, 2002.

26 Charges of physical assault can be made under the 1861 Offenses Against the Person Act under sections 18 (wounding with intent to maim; causing grievous bodily harm with intent; shooting with intent to maim), 20 (unlawful wounding) and 47 (assault, battery, actual bodily harm).

27 Human Rights Watch interview with Bill Roberts and Anne Hewlett (respectively crime adviser and criminal investigation trainer with the Commonwealth Community Safety and Security Project), Freetown, May 1, 2002.

28 Human Rights Watch, The War within the War: Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002).

29 A survey of 226 victims, conducted by the University of Sierra Leone Gender Research and Documentation Centre in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Association of University Women (SLAUW), Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF and FAWE Sierra Leone.

30 Human Rights Watch interview with EIDHR representatives Andrew Kelly and Irene Corcillo and the Economic Adviser to the E.U., René Mally, Freetown, April 10, 2002.

31 In resolution 1370, the Security Council expressed "... its continued deep concern at the reports of human rights abuses and attacks by the RUF and the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) ... against the civilian population, in particular the widespread violation of the human rights of women and children, including sexual violence, [and] demands that these acts cease immediately..." U.N. Security Council resolution 1370, S/RES/1370 (2001), September 18, 2001, para. 4.

32 U.N. Security Council resolution 1270, S/RES/1270 (1999), October 22, 1999.

33 U.N. Security Council resolution 1346, S/RES/1346 (2001), March 30, 2001.

34 See Human Rights Watch letter addressed to Secretary-General Kofi Annan at annanltr.htm.

35 Fourteenth Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, S/2002/679, June 19, 2002.

36 Fifteenth Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone, S/2002/987, September 5, 2002; U.N. Security Council resolution 1436, S/RES/1436 (2002), September 24, 2002, paragraphs 14 and 15.

37 U.N. Security Council resolution 1325, S/RES/1325 (2000), October 31, 2000.

38 See the summary of the assessment's findings at

39 Human Rights Watch interview with Jebbeh Forster (Gender and AIDS advisor to UNIFEM Sierra Leone), Freetown, March 11 and April 15, 2002.

40 United Nations, Sixth Report of the U.N. secretary-general on the U.N. Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL), S/1999/645, June 4, 1999, para. 39.

41 The Commission on Human Rights deplored "... the ongoing atrocities committed by the rebels, including murders, rape, abductions ... calls for an end to all such acts." U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2000/24, April 18, 2000, para. 4. The Commission also expressed its grave concern " the targeting and abuse of women and girls that have been committed in Sierra Leone by the Revolutionary United Front and others, including other armed groups, in particular murder, sexual violence, rape, including systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced marriages..." U.N. Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/20, April 20, 2001, para. 2(b).

42 United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2001/49, Addendum, Mission to Sierra Leone, E/CN.4/2002/83/Add.2 (United Nations, 2002), p. 2.

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