Systematic Rape of Women and Girls in Sierra Leone
Thousands of women and girls in Sierra Leone have been the victims of a systematic assault by rebels who had sought to overthrow the West African nation's government. Human rights workers compare the atrocities to the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, where women were similarly targeted, captured, and subjected to gang rape and sexual servitude, but note that the conflict in Sierra Leone "has received far less attention."
Women in Sierra Leone who were considered particularly attractive were often forced into domestic (as well as sexual) servitude. Many of the women were under 14 or over 45; many girl victims of this violence either became pregnant or died as a result of rape. In addition, the war of terror against women has brought an increase in sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, among females. AIDS and HIV testing is unavailable in Sierra Leone because of prohibitive cost and lack of treatment resources for those who test positive.
The rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front, has been effectively cleared of these crimes due to a recent cease-fire agreement that included a blanket amnesty for human rights violations. The peace agreement also called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission and a national human rights commission, but neither has been achieved to date. Some government and UN sources say that the rebels may still hold thousands of women in remote areas.
Media Resources: The Washington Post - 11 April, 2000 and Human Rights Watch, Website Report]
6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas.
The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .
6/26/2015 Supreme Court Declares Marriage Equality a Constitutional Right - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that same-sex couples fundamentally have equal protections under the Constitution.
The Supreme Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment requires all 50 states to both license a marriage and recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex. . . .
6/26/2015 President Obama Delivers Moving Eulogy in Charleston - The nation is remembering the nine victims of the Emanuel AME Church mass shooting this week, as President Obama gave an unforgettable eulogy for State Senate Reverend Clementa Pinckney.
President Obama knew Reverend Pinckney personally, meeting him during his 2008 election campaign. . . .