Goal: Suffering in Sierra Leone to continue says John O'Shea

Report
from GOAL
Published on 05 Jun 2002
STATEMENT
Inhabitants of the world's poorest nation - Sierra Leone- may not know for some months if the end of their 10-year civil war will finally end their misery.

That is the assertion of John O'Shea, GOAL's Chief Executive, who has just returned from a visit to the impoverished West African country which voted in a new government earlier in the month.

O'Shea says that a number of factors will influence the future development of Sierra Leone and its suffering people.

"The civil war in neighbouring Liberia will spill over into Sierra Leone causing serious problems .... The fact that the country's natural resources (diamonds and routile) do not benefit the population at large ... and endemic corruption, are factors which will play a central part in the future of this country".

O'Shea added that he felt it imperative that the International Community remain fully engaged with the Sierra Leone people.

"It may be the biggest and costliest UN operation on the planet - but if the International Community decides to pull out its troops, it could precipitate a return to a nightmarish situation. The UN is talking about a wind-down situation which will commence in three months time".

"The people of this country desperately want the foreign troops to remain - they trust them much more than they trust their own politicians".

"If the International Community makes the wrong call here, it could have disastrous consequences".

GOAL works in the capital Freetown and in the provinces, where even rudimentary facilities for the poor are unavailable - save for the courageous efforts of non-government organisations.

"The pain and suffering of millions continues" concluded O'Shea

ENDS

For further information contact John O'Shea on +353 (0)1 2809779 or 086 8527427