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Adopt Policy to Ensure Students Return, Receive Support

(Nairobi) – The Sierra Leone government’s decision to allow girls who are pregnant or have a child to attend school is an important step to improve education for girls in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 30, 2020,…
A group of students walk to school in Sierra Leone
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African Governments Should Ensure Right to Education

  (Nairobi) - Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of the Day of the African Child…
Students enrolled in the final year of lower secondary school in the classroom in a village in Kolda region, southern Senegal. Adolescent mothers and married girls study in this school.
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Latest Move Shows Government’s Disregard for Victims

(Nairobi) – Burundi has taken a major step backward by officially withdrawing from the International Criminal Court, Human Rights Watch said today. Other African ICC members should distance themselves from Burundi’s withdrawal and affirm their support for…
Residents outside their houses in Nyakabiga, in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, look at the body of a man shot dead on December 11, 2015.
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Could Help Address High Maternal Mortality Rates

(Dakar) – Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma, should sign into law a bill that would increase women’s access to safe and legal abortion, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today in a letter they and five Sierra…
An estimated 400 women showed up in support of the safe abortion bill wearing “children by choice, not by chance” T-shirts on December 8, 2015 outside of Sierra Leone's Parliament. © 2015 Ipas
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Protect Health Workers, Limit Quarantines, Promote Transparency

(Nairobi) – West African governments should ensure rights protections as a crucial element in controlling the unprecedented Ebola epidemic ravaging the region, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch expressed its sympathy to the families,…
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Sometimes Ebola, or cholera or other infectious diseases, emerge and are brought under control, but the current Ebola crisis in West Africa continues to grow. What makes the critical difference in quickly controlling an outbreak? Luck plays a part. Where…
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Ensure Economic Development Upholds Protections for Residents, Workers

(Freetown) – The government of Sierra Leone and a mining company that is the country’s largest private employer have undermined villagers’ access to food and prevented workers from challenging abusive practices, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
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Victim of Alleged Attack by AU Soldiers and Witnesses Harassed

(Nairobi) – Somali authorities should order a new, impartial, and transparent investigation into an alleged gang-rape by African Union (AU) soldiers. The case has been marred by mismanagement, opacity, and the harassment of the female rape survivor and…
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Long-Awaited Information Act Could Spur Greater Government Openness

(Freetown) – The Sierra Leone parliament’s passage of a freedom of information law is a major step to ensure greater government transparency, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Sierra Leone’s…
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FFormer Associate of Charles Taylor, Rebels Identified in Freetown

(Nairobi) – The Sierra Leone authorities should open a criminal investigation of a suspected arms supplier for his alleged involvement in international crimes during Sierra Leone’s civil war. This would be Sierra Leone’s first purely domestic prosecution…
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Annual Visual Journalism Award Honors Filmmaker Killed in Libya

The photojournalist Fernando Moreles has been awarded the second Tim Hetherington Grant, an annual visual journalism award focusing on human rights, Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo announced today. Human Rights Watch and World Press Photo…
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Sierra Leone Special Court Offers Lessons for Prosecuting Highest-Level Suspects

(Brussels) – The trial of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone’s armed conflict was a largely well-run proceeding, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The trial…
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(New York) – The sentencing of Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison on May 30, 2012 by the Special Court for Sierra Leone is a landmark in ensuring justice for the victims of Sierra Leone's brutal armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said today. “Crucial…
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World Less Hospitable for Leaders Who Commit Grave Crimes

(The Hague) – The conviction on April 26, 2012, of Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, for serious international crimes during Sierra Leone’s brutal armed conflict provides justice for victims and shows that no one is above the law, Human…
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Information Essential to Ensuring Transparency and Accountability

(Freetown) – The government of Sierra Leone should urgently pass the pending Freedom of Information Bill (FOI), the Freedom of Information Coalition Sierra Leone (FOICSL), Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International said today. The legislation would…
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Measure to Prosecute Recruiters Abroad Puts Commanders on Notice

(New York) - Under a new law signed today by US President George W. Bush, leaders of military forces and armed groups who have recruited child soldiers may be arrested and prosecuted in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today. The law could apply…
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Reason for Fighting Cannot Reduce Penalties

(New York) - The decision by Sierra Leone’s war crimes court to reject sentence reductions for two convicted militia members because they fought for a “legitimate cause” is crucial in ensuring justice for all victims of human rights violations, Human…