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This report was written by Louise Taylor, a consultant to Human Rights Watch, on the basis of interviews conducted in Sierra Leone from February to June 2002. It is also based on testimonies collected by Corinne Dufka, Human Rights Watch Africa Division researcher based in Sierra Leone, from 1999 to June 2002, and by Ellen Vermeulen, consultant, from February 2000 to April 2001.

The report was edited by Bronwen Manby, deputy director of the Africa Division; James Ross, senior legal adviser; and Ian Gorvin, consultant to the program office. It was also reviewed by Corinne Dufka; Widney Brown, advocacy director in the Women's Rights Division; Zama Coursen-Neff, researcher in the Children's Rights Division; Joanne Csete, director of the program on HIV/AIDS and human rights; and Joanne Weschler, U.N. representative. The final edits were inputted by Max Marcus, consultant. Production and coordination assistance was provided by Jeff Scott, associate in the Africa Division; Patrick Minges, Publications director; and Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager.

We would like to thank all the organizations and individuals interviewed for this report for their invaluable assistance and insights. We particularly thank the survivors who agreed to recount their experiences. The courage and dignity of these women and girls never ceases to amaze and inspire.

Human Rights Watch recognizes with appreciation funding for work on Sierra Leone from the Oak Foundation, Stichting Doen, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Human Rights Watch
Africa Division

Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to bring offenders to justice, to prevent discrimination, to uphold
political freedom and to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.

We challenge governments and those holding power to end abusive practices and respect international
human rights law.

We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

      The staff includes Kenneth Roth, executive director; Michele Alexander, development director; Rory Mungoven, advocacy director; Carroll Bogert, communications director; John T. Green, operations director, Barbara Guglielmo, finance director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels office director; Patrick Minges, publications director; Maria Pignataro Nielsen, human resources director; Joe Saunders, interim program director; Wilder Tayler, legal and policy director; and Joanna Weschler, United Nations representative. Jonathan Fanton is the chair of the board. Robert L. Bernstein is the founding chair.

Its Africa division was established in 1988 to monitor and promote the observance of internationally recognized human rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Peter Takirambudde is the executive director; Bronwen Manby is the deputy director; Janet Fleischman is the Washington director; Alison Des Forges is the senior adviser; Binaifer Nowrojee and Jemera Rone are counsels; Carina Tertsakian and Lars Waldorf are researchers; Juliane Kippenberg is the NGO Liaison; Jeff Scott is the associate. Vincent Mai is the chair of the advisory committee.

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