Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-16-03

Rape Used as Systematic Weapon of War in Sierra Leone

Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report today stating that all parties in Sierra Leone’s ten-year civil war committed systematic sexual violence. Developed from hundreds of interviews with victims, witnesses, and officials, HRW’s 75-page report, “We’ll Kill You If You Cry,” describes alleged abuses committed mainly by soldiers of rebel forces such as the Revolutionary United Front, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council, and the West Side Boys, as well as government and international peacekeeping forces. Between 1991 and 2001, thousands of women and girls of all ages, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes were sexually violated using tactics such as individual and gang rape and rape with objects like weapons, firewood, umbrellas, and pestles. HRW noted several incidents where child combatants raped elderly women, rebels raped pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and fathers were forced to witness the rape of their daughters. Women and girls abducted by rebels were often forced into slave labor following their sexual assault, and other abuses were committed against the victim, her family, and community.

The United Nations set up a special court for Sierra Leone to try alleged human rights violations in the country. According to BBC, the ten-year war has claimed around 30,000 lives and has left countless people maimed.

HRW issued another report last June confirming that all sides in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo used atrocities against women as a common military tactic intended to subdue the civilian population. Despite the prevalence of rape as a war strategy, soldiers continue unpunished.

In July 1998, 120 countries, excluding the United States, voted to adopt the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC). Article 7 of the Rome Statute presents clear language defining gender crimes including rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, and the crime of apartheid as crimes against humanity. Under Article 7, the rape and torture of women and girls in Sierra Leone and the Congo would qualify as a crime against humanity; therefore, violators could be tried before the ICC.

Media Resources: BBC 01/16/03; HRW report 1/2003, news 01/16/03; Feminist Daily News Wire


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/22/2015 Senate Votes to Advance "Fast Tracking" of Dangerous Trade Agreement - The US Senate voted 62 to 38 yesterday to advance "fast track" trade legislation, just one week after Senate Democrats filibustered the controversial bill that would allow President Obama to force Congress to vote up-or-down on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The TPP is a far-reaching trade agreement that has faced staunch opposition from a broad coalition of labor, environmental, women's rights, and human rights groups. . . .
 
5/22/2015 New York Politicians, Advocates, and Activists Have Come Together to Protect Nail Salon Workers - Following a report by the New York Times on the exploitation of nail salon workers almost two weeks ago, New York state and city officials have partnered with advocates and volunteers to bring comprehensive educational programs and labor reforms to the 5,000 licensed salons in the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo (D), who ordered emergency measures last week in the wake of the report - including posting workers' rights information in salons in different languages, shutting down unlicensed salons, implementing new safety requirements, and creating an educational campaign aimed at employees and managers - has introduced a legislative package aimed at building upon those reforms and leading the way for long-term protection for nail salon workers. . . .
 
5/20/2015 New York Attorney General Moves to Expand Access to Contraceptives - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act of 2015 last week to enhance the availability of contraception for New Yorkers. The bill codifies the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) in New York state law while strengthening and expanding many of its provisions. . . .