Sierra Leone


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Sierra Leone Human Rights

Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone

Stability and security have increased in Sierra Leone since 2002 with the end of the country's decade-long war. However, Sierra Leoneans face grinding poverty; economic justice eludes them. The Special Court for Sierra Leone, which is trying leaders from the civil war of the 1990s, completed three trials convicting seven individuals of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The trial of Liberia's former President Charles Taylor continues. Female genital mutilation remains prevalent in the country. Rape and domestic violence cases need more aggressive prosecution, and women need better access to justice and healthcare. The maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone is one of the highest in the world. In a November 2007 Presidential election widely regarded as free and fair, Ernest Koroma of the All People's Congress defeated the sitting Vice-President Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone People's Party.

Violence and Discrimination Against Women

Using the Child Rights Act (2007), NGOs made some gains in their campaign to stop the practice of FGM among girls below the age of 18. Some traditional leaders imposed by-laws in their communities outlawing the practice of FGM for children.

  • In February, four women journalists were abducted, stripped and forced to parade naked through the streets of Kenema by women initiators of FGM who said that the journalists were disrupting their tradition. After the journalists were released, the police took no action against the alleged attackers.

There were allegations that women were raped and otherwise sexually assaulted during the March political violence. The Commission of Inquiry set up in July concluded that sexual violence did take place but that rape did not. No action was taken against those alleged to have perpetrated sexual violence. Civil society and women's rights groups contested the findings of the inquiry.

  • A woman in the northern district of Kono was barred from chieftaincy elections in November because of her gender.
Sierra Leone Newsroom



July 2, 2018 • Report

Sierra Leone: New government must prioritize ending police crackdowns on peaceful protesters

The new government of Sierra Leone must start fulfilling its promises to improve the human rights situation in the country by lifting restrictions on peaceful demonstrations and ending entrenched impunity for police killings of protesters, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

November 7, 2016 • Press Release

Sierra Leone: Continued pregnancy ban in schools and failure to protect rights is threatening teenage girls’ futures

Sierra Leone must lift a deeply discriminatory ban on visibly pregnant girls attending school and taking exams, which continues to entrench gender inequality in the country and puts thousands of teenage girls’ futures at risk, Amnesty International said today, a year on from its report on the issue.

February 22, 2016 • Press Release

Amnesty International’s Annual State of the World Report Slams Governments, Including the U.S., for Global Assault on Freedoms

On the launch of its 2015 State of the World report, Amnesty International USA urged President Obama to use his last year in office to bring U.S. laws and policies in line with international human rights standards.

February 18, 2016 • Press Release

Your rights in jeopardy, global assault on freedoms, warns Amnesty International

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

February 4, 2016 • Press Release

Sierra Leone’s President Must Sign Bill Allowing Safe Abortions

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 Leonean rights groups 50/50, AdvocAid, Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, IPAS Sierra Leone, and Wi Di Uman Dem Coalition sent to President Koroma.

November 6, 2015 • Report

Shamed and Blamed: Pregnant Girls’ Rights at Risk in Sierra Leone

Thousands of pregnant girls, excluded from mainstream schools and barred from sitting upcoming exams, risk being left behind as Sierra Leone moves forward from the Ebola crisis, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

November 6, 2015 • Press Release

Pregnant schoolgirls in Sierra Leone excluded from school and banned from exams

Thousands of pregnant girls, excluded from mainstream schools and barred from sitting upcoming exams, risk being left behind as Sierra Leone moves forward from the Ebola crisis, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 23, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Sierra Leone 2013

Republic of Sierra Leone Head of state and government Ernest Bai Koroma The former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, was convicted and sentenced for crimes committed in Sierra Leone during the 11-year armed conflict. The country held its third elections since the end of the conflict, which international observers declared were orderly and transparent. The …