Sierra Leone president declares emergency over rape and sexual violence

Sierra Leone president declares emergency over rape and sexual violence

Sierra Leone has declared a national emergency over sexual and gender-based violence after recorded cases of rape and assault doubled over the past year.

Activists say many more cases go unreported.

Recorded cases of sexual and gender-based violence nearly doubled last year, reaching 8,505 in a population of 7.5 million, up from 4,750 a year earlier, according to police statistics.

Following months of campaigning by activists, the president declared a national emergency and said those convicted of sexual offences against minors would face life in prison.

"We want the numbers to come down, [and] we want a situation where the data is nationwide data, chiefdom-based data", she said.

The current law carries a maximum penalty of 15 years, and very few cases have been prosecuted.

A third of those involved a minor.

Reported cases of sexual-based and domestic violence have been on the rise in Sierra Leone in the last three years, with 12,029 cases reported in 2017, 11,362 in 2016, and 10,544 in 2015, according to police figures.

"With this declaration, I have also directed the following: that all government hospitals must provide free medical treatment and certificate to every victim of rape and sexual abuse", he said.

Many victims contract sexual diseases, including HIV, from being raped and hundreds also become pregnant.

The decree was made by President Julius Maada Bio on Thursday, several weeks after the First Lady led a demonstration through the streets of Freetown to raise awareness on the issue.

Bio's declaration followed a national campaign aimed at raising awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence and calling for tougher enforcement and more support for survivors.

Anger has been mounting over sexual violence against women following a series of high-profile cases, including that of a five-year-old girl left partially paralysed after an alleged assault by her uncle. Mrs Bio has been championing the latest wave of campaign against sexual violence through her "Hands Off Our Girls" campaign. The attack crippled the girl's spine, leaving her paralyzed for life. "Seventy percent of survivors of this traumatic experience are under the age (of) 15", the President said.

Some trace the roots of Sierra Leone's rape crisis to its civil war, which lasted from 1991-2002. These despicable crimes of sexual violence are being committed against our women, children and even babies.

Related News:



Most liked

May urges United Kingdom lawmakers: Give me more time to get Brexit deal
The new pledge would be for a repeat of this process by February 27. 'You would have a hard border, very hard border. Speaking on Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Blair said: "No one could responsibly propose (a no-deal Brexit)".

Thomas Cook puts airline business up for sale to raise cash
In all, it operates 103 aircraft and posted a 37 per cent rise in operating profit a year ago to £129 million (S$225.8 million). While the company blamed too many airlines chasing too few passengers, costs may be the real problem, industry experts said.

Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and more cult classics are coming to consoles
In a press release from Skybound, retail and digital are mentioned among the options available for purchase. More details will be revealed in the coming months, including more information about the physical release.

DUI Suspect Shows Off His Dance Moves During Field Sobriety Test
At one point in the tests, Larson was instructed to walk heel-to-toe across a piece of tape stretched out on the ground. The deputy asks Larson if he is 'complete with the exercise, ' but he just mumbles and continues his shuffle.

FDA: Additional cases of cancer linked to breast implants
The FDA also announced it will be sending letters to doctors, urging them to learn about ALCL. Those who already have implants should look out for new swelling, lumps, or pain around them.

Microsoft unveils Anthem Xbox One S bundle
The catalog now includes over 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games, and Microsoft keeps adding quality titles month after month. If you're not 100% sure what Xbox Game Pass actually is, never fear! The worst performer among all was Xbox One S.

Ocado warehouse fire in Andover finally out
And it said it had comprehensive insurance for the property, stock and equipment on site, and for business interruption losses. It will, we believe, issue a slow sales growth warning while it tries to source alternative solutions to fulfil orders.

Party That Nominated Thai Princess For PM Faces Ban After King's Rebuke
In an Instagram post this weekend she thanked Thais who had supported her but did not address the King's comments. The March 24 election is the first since a military coup in 2014 toppled an elected pro-Thaksin government.

Boston Celtics confident Irving 'marriage' will still go ahead
Due to an National Basketball Association rule, the Celtics are not allowed to trade for Davis until Irving becomes a free agent. The former No 1 overall pick can opt out of the final year of his contract this summer and test free agency.

Sportscaster arrested for damaging 'racist' Plantation Estates sign
The local ABC and CBS great was famous for his " Let's go to the videotape " catchphrase. He turned himself in to police Thursday and charged with criminal mischief.

Wells Fargo extends branch hours after mobile system outage
Wells Fargo responded to some Twitter users that it was aware of an issue regarding direct deposit payments. Whitney Dawe uses the Wells Fargo app every day; he's been banking with them for almost eight years.

Renault to alert prosecutors over ex-CEO Ghosn’s wedding costs
After his Nov 19 arrest, Ghosn was quickly ousted by Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors , the other Japanese partner in the alliance. Renault's board was told about the discovery as reported in Le Figaro on Wednesday , Reuters reported .

TSA confiscated record number of guns from carry-ons in 2018
That 2018 tally included 21 guns at Logan International Airport, nine at Bradley International Airport in CT , four at T.F. The pilot, Brian Andrew Machtemes , who lives in Minnesota, was arrested at Southwest Florida International Airport.

Unspecified "security incident'': Australian parliament computer network breached"
Australian PM Scott Morrison said he didn't intend to comment in depth on "the source or nature of this". Security industry sources said it was possible China could be behind the latest attack.

Coke unveils its first new flavor in over a decade
In introducing the new Orange Vanilla Coke, it hopes to ensure the Coke brand doesn't begin to feel stale with consumers. Coca-Cola says it tested raspberry, lemon in ginger in focus groups, but orange and vanilla came out as favorites.