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Free the Children children helping children

Free the Children children helping children

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Free the Children children helping children

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  1. Free the Childrenchildren helping children Helping Children in War-Torn Sierra Leone

  2. March 30, 2010 Objectives: To develop an understanding of Sierra Leone. Question: What has been one of the main causes of the violence in the DRC? Agenda: Lecture/Introduce Project on Genocide and Human Rights

  3. Sierra LeoneAt a glance Sierra Leone is a small African country that suffered the atrocities of a brutal, eleven-year long civil war. The conflict left the nation in shambles and its communities devastated. -Poorest country in the world*-Population : 5.4 million-Population under age 15: 2.4 million-Gross National Income (per person): $140 USD (vs. $23,000 in Canada and $35,000 is the US) * As defined by the UN Human Development Index. This index measures how well a nation is doing, taking into account three aspects of human development: life expectancy, education and standard of living (how much money people have.)

  4. Maps of the World, West Africa, & Sierra Leone

  5. Sierra LeoneAt a glance Why is Sierra Leone the worst place in the world in which to live? • The country is the poorest in the world: • 57% of the population lives on $1 US a day and 74.5% of the population lives on $2 US a day. • People, especially children are malnourished and in need of basic health services : • HIGHEST Under-five MORTALITY RATE IN THE WORLD: Of every 1,000 babies born, 316 will not live to see their 5th birthday (versus 7 babies in Canada and 8 in the US). • There are only 7 doctors for every 100,000 people in Sierra Leone. • The education system is in shambles: • 80% of the educational infrastructure is destroyed • For every 1,000 children, barely half of them are in school. • The government spends only 1% of its revenue on education.

  6. Sierra LeoneAt a glance Average number of years that people live

  7. Sierra LeoneEducation Percentage of people age 15 and older who cannot read and write

  8. Background of Sierra Leone • Sierra Leone is home to Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, established in 1827. • In 1462, the Portuguese explorer, Pedro da Cintra, visited and named the country Serra de Leão, meaning ‘Lion Mountains’. • Sierra Leone was an important center of the transatlantic slave trade.

  9. Background of Sierra Leone Cont. • Freetown was founded in 1787 by the Sierra Leone Company. • Freetown served as a home for formerly enslaved African Americans and West Indians. • In 1808, Freetown became a British Crown Colony. • In 1896, the interior of the country became a British Protectorate.

  10. Background of Sierra Leone Cont. • In 1961, Freetown and the Protectorate combined and gained independence from the British. • Government neglect and spilling over of the Liberian conflict into its borders led to the Sierra Leone Civil War. • Over 50,000 people lost their lives, many had their limbs chopped off, hundreds of thousands were displaced, women and little girls were raped, both public and private were buildings destroyed

  11. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) Overview of the War: • Length of war: • 11 years (1991-2002) • Major Players: • Government of Sierra Leone • The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), rebels • Number of People Killed : • More than 100,000 • Number of Child Soldiers: • Between 15,000 – 20,000; • Number of Refugees and Displaced Persons: • 2.5 million • Primary Reasons the War Started: • Rebels wanted to overthrow the government • Greedy people fighting over the diamond mines in the country

  12. Pictures of the Effects of the War

  13. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) All parties in the war were terrifyingly dangerous, but no group was more well known and feared than the RUF because of their “campaign of terror.” This “campaign” encouraged the rebels to destroy lives and property without regard. • Key Features of the RUF’s “Campaign of Terror”: • Amputations of the Limbs of Innocent People • Burning Houses and Pillaging • Conflict Diamonds • Child Soldiers • Brainwashing • Drugs • Abductions • Rape

  14. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) • Amputations of the Limbs of Innocent People : • The trademark of the RUF was the chopping off of arms and legs of men, women and children using machetes and chainsaws. • Number of amputees across the country: 10,000 • Youngest recorded amputee: four months old. • Fingers, feet, noses, ears and lips were also cut off. Furthermore, using the machetes, eyes were slashed and pulled out.

  15. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) • Burning Houses and Pillaging : • The rebels attacked nearly every village they came upon: • “Operation: Burn House” was an attack where the houses of innocent people were burned to ashes. • “Operation: Pay Yourself” encouraged the rebels to obtain personal wealth any way they could. • “Operation: No Living Thing” ordered the rebels to kill everything in their path.

  16. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) • Conflict Diamonds: • The war was primarily fought over and caused by greed for the diamonds found in Sierra Leone. • The RUF used the profits from the sale of illegally mined diamonds to buy weapons and drugs. For this reason, the diamonds are called “conflict diamonds or blood diamonds.”

  17. Sierra LeoneCivil War (1991 – 2002) • Conflict Diamonds : Statistics • Between 1991 and 1999, it is estimated that the RUF brought in over 200 million US dollars. • Americans buy 65% of the world’s diamonds. • Although Sierra Leone’s diamond industry only makes up 1% of total diamond sales worldwide, it was profitable enough for the RUF to continue its “campaign of terror.” • “Diamonds are forever” it is often said. But lives are not. We must spare people the ordeal of war, mutilations and death for the sake of conflict diamonds.” • - Martin Chungong Ayafor, Chairman of the Sierra Leone Panel of Experts

  18. Sierra LeoneWar Affected Children • Child Soldiers: • All sides in the war used children to fight as soldiers. • In some RUF units, as many as 80 percent of the soldiers were children. • Children as young as 6 years old were forced to fight. • It is estimated that 15,000 – 20,000 children fought in the war.

  19. Sierra LeoneWar Affected Children • Drugs: • Drugs given to child soldiers: cocaine, marijuana, speed and alcohol. • Drugs guaranteed that children would be “crazy” when committing a violent act, numbing them to the horrors of war. • The most common drug given to child soldiers in the RUF was “brown – brown,” a mixture of cocaine and gunpowder. Children were cut in the temples of their head, close to the vein, allowing the drug to be given close to the brain.

  20. Sierra LeoneWar-Affected Children • Brainwashing: • The RUF forced children to kill their own family, friends and neighbors. The RUF believed that if a child could kill his/her own family he/she could kill anyone. • If children did not obey the RUF, they were often tortured, amputated or killed. • While receiving treatment in a rehabilitation center, one fourteen year old former child soldier repeatedly attempted suicide by throwing himself into traffic.“Demons are pursuing me,” he said. “I have done such bad things that I have to die.”

  21. Sierra LeoneWar Affected Children • Abductions: • The RUF invaded villages and refugee camps, where the threat of an invasion caused panic. Children were often separated from their parents, making abduction easy for the rebels. • “A group of about eleven junta soldiers captured me, my parents and others. They killed one person in our group in front of us. The group split, and I lost my parents. They took us back to Koidu and released us but arrested us again and made us carry their loads. We were adults and children. They didn’t tell us anything about why they were making us do this.” • - Mary, 9 years old

  22. Sierra LeoneWar-Affected Children • Abductions – Children Volunteering for Armed Groups : • There were two reasons why a child might volunteer and turn himself in to one of the warring groups: • Revenge – to kill or hurt people who killed or harmed them or their family. • Because the rebels would often kill the adults in a village, children were often forced to turn to the fighting groups as the only way to obtain food, shelter and clothing.

  23. Sierra LeoneVoices of War-Affected Children “I went to fetch water one morning, and when I came back, everyone was dead; my parents, the rest of the family, everyone. Their limbs were all over the village. The rebels had come with a chainsaw and cut everybody up. I had no one left, so I ran away to Bo town. When I got there, I decided to join the Kamajor society.” - John, 17

  24. Sierra LeoneWar-Affected Children • Conclusion of the War: • The war officially ended in January 2002. • By the end of the war… • - Almost 100,000 people had been killed. • - Half the country’s population was displaced from their homes. • - More than two-thirds of its already weak infrastructure was destroyed. • Because of the continued trade of conflict diamonds and the ongoing battle in Liberia, peace in Sierra Leone is fragile.

  25. Final 5 Which of the Crisis would you be willing to fight for, not literally, but to raise awareness. Explain what you would do.