This report was written by Etelle Higonnet, a Bernstein Fellow at Human Rights Watch, on the basis of her interviews conducted in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Mali, and Burkina Faso from August to October 2006.

The report was edited by Corinne Dufka, West Africa Team Leader; Dustin Sharp, Francophone West Africa Researcher; Aisling Reidy from the Legal Division; and Iain Levine of the Program Office. It was also reviewed by the Women’s Rights Division; the Program on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights; the Children’s Rights Division, and the International Justice Division. Production assistance was provided by Celeste Robinson, Coordinator in the Africa Division; Jill Craig, intern in the Africa Division; Andrea Holley, 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. Many have asked to remain anonymous and we respect their security concerns. Human Rights Watch salutes the heroism of NGOs that work on gender-based violence in Côte d’Ivoire by documenting abuses, conducting trainings with members of armed groups at places such as checkpoints and barracks, providing medical and psychosocial services to survivors, and helping with the reintegration of rape victims rejected by their communities.

We particularly thank the witnesses and victims of sexual violence who recounted their experiences. They overcame fear, shame, intimidation, and trauma to share their suffering. Their bravery and dignity inspires us all.