''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol XI No 2

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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March 8, 2010 - Celebrating our women - Today 8th March is a day set aside to celebrate the lives of the women of Sierra Leone as members of the international and global community observing this year's theme - "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All”  The Sierra Herald joins women all over the world, more especially in Sierra Leone where the expression and the enjoyment of the rights of women remain an illusion more so in the rural areas where "traditional values" are used as cover to exploit, ill-treat and and marginalise women. The Sierra Herald notes especially, the report of the Justice Bankole-Thompson report The learned Justice Bankole-Thompsonafter the attack on the headquarters of the opposition in which among the violence perpetrated on supporters of the party, including women, political capital was made of the report with the President's own Press Secretary Sheka Tarawallie and State House website gloating (that page is here just in case they have taken if off) over a section of the report which stated

"Predicated upon the totality of the evidence presented before the Commission and upon the facts as found, and guided by applicable principles of law covering the different facets of the Inquiry, both in its factual and legal perspectives, the Commission finds each allegation of rape set out in Part 3 of the Report, unsustainable in law"

The learned judge knew that proving rape without the necessary forensic equipment and trained staff would be very difficult and dared not put his hard-earned reputation on the line but was good enough to recommend that government puts in place the necessary machinery that would not see the Police becoming a part of the repressive state machinery against women. The government was also advised to investigate the other aspects of the violence visited upon the opposition men and women. Among the recommendationsHas the President lost his vision? Photo: Sierra Express Media

Based on the evidence before the commission of a strong perception on the part of victim/witnesses that the Police were in collusion with the alleged perpetrators in victimizing them, we recommend that Government considers the advisability and expediency of investigating allegations of this nature reflecting adversely on Police neutrality, impartiality and professionalism.

Indeed it is worth reminding the Press Secretary and State House of this article found on one international website which claims that "Rape suspects have a field day in Sierra Leone" because, according to the report from the UN Office in Freetown

.......not a single suspect was convicted for 927 crimes in the country in 2009. Figures provided by National Family Support Unit indicate that during the course of last year, 313 rape cases were referred to court, 460 are still being investigated, 40 are pending while 122 were resolved or retracted and only two dismissed.

This is the story of the fate of women in Sierra Leone where State House continues to gloat over Justice Bankole-Thompson's report which investigated allegations of rape and violence visited upon Sierra Leone's women. It was as if no violence was perpetrated against the women and other party supporters!!!!


Online Cocorioko outlet

Rape in Sierra Leone : SLPP's heartlessness to women was most shameful and unbelievable




Written by Our Political Correspondent Jonathan Fynecontry   

Sunday, 29 March 2009

 The Sierra Leone People's Party ( SLPP) has no moral authority to question the All People's Congress (APC)  government's handling of the recent alleged rape incidents in Sierra Leone.

If it is true that these women were raped, it is regrettable and I wish to condemn the perpetuators and call for action against them.

However, worst incidents of rape happened under the watch of the SLPP  government and the sad thing is that all the women raped during the SLPP era never received justice.  

The SLPP government  failed to acknowledge the sufferings of the women raped and the government was very heartless towards the victims , as reported by international organizations. I am not saying that because the SLPP's record of protecting wome's rights was abysmal, therefore the APC should do the same or that rape is justified under the present government.That is not what I am saying.

What I want to highlight here is the SLPP's hypocrisy, double standards and impunity. As I am going to demonstrate, the SLPP era saw the most brutal and ruthless sexual abuse of women and throughout its reign ; and yet  the SLPP GOVERNMENT DID NOTHING TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THESE RAPES OCCURED, THAT THE VICTIMS WERE SUFFERING AND THAT THEY NEEDED JUSTICE. TO THIS DAY, NONE OF THE RAVISHED WOMEN HAVE RECEIVED JUSTICE. NOT A SINGLE ONE. THE VIOLATED WOMEN ARE WALKING AROUND WITH THE PAIN, SHAME AND STIGMA.

This flagrant violation and neglect of the rights of women by the SLPP  government  begs the question : Why is the SLPP  now trying to politicize the alleged rapes at their headquarters and trying to stigmatize the APC  as if they did any better during their reign ? Is this not the height of hypocrisy for a party under whose watch thousands of women were brutally raped to now turn around and try to make political capital out of six alleged raped viictims in the APC era ? Is it not the height of the worst type of double standards for a party that failed to acknowlege thousands of rapes or provide succor and justice for the thousands of victims to now try to make a big noise out of six women allegedly raped recently ?

This is what is most annoying about the SLPP.

They hide their own shame and disgrace under the bushel and try to make political capital out of other people's. WHAT A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED GRAND OLD PARTY OF SIERRA LEONE ? Should not the SLPP first try to remove the log in their eyes before talking about the mote in other people's eyes ?

The APC Government should not sit back and let the SLPP  get away with their hypocrisy and double standards. While providing assurance that everything was being done to address the problems of the alleged six rape victims, the government must present facts to the American Ambassador and the International Community to show that the SLPP's record of protecting women against rape and providing them justice was the most shameful in Africa.

During the reign of the SLPP, women were subjected to  Rape, sexual torture,  Sexual slavery and  Forced pregnancy.

While it must be acknowledged that some of these acts were perpetuated during a war situation, the government's own forces and sponsored militia, the Kamajors, were among the perpetuators. What did the SLPP  government do to bring its forces and Kamajors to justice ?

Are the rapists not walking free in our society ?

Granted that an amnesty was offered, should not the SLPP  government have punished their Kamajors just to send a clear message that the government did not condone the rapes ? Yet, it was clear that the SLPP  government supported the atrocities committed by its Kamajors that included rape, sexual torture and forced pregnancies of girls as young as 14 or 15

With such a disgraceful record , what gave the SLPP  the moral gumption to make all the noise we heard recently over the six women allegedly raped ?  I am not saying that they should not advocate for the women, but the political capital they tried to make out of the issue was hypocrisy that stank to the heavens.

The SLPP  must publicly acknowledge that thousands of women, including babies , were raped during their reign and that the government negligently failed to do anything about it.




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