Sierra Leone + 1 more

Sierra Leone: Children essential to peace process

During his visit to Save the Children's programme in Daru, Sierra Leone this Wednesday, Olara Otunnu - the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict - will be urged to provide support to enable children to participate safely and fully in the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Save the Children's Child Protection team working in Daru believes that participation in the Commission is fundamental for the reintegration and healing of children who have experienced the full horrors of war, including forcible conscription, internal displacement and sexual exploitation.

Save the Children will also call on Otunnu to ensure the UN recognises the thousands of children who have fled from Liberia into Sierra Leone - many of whom have been combatants - and perseveres in encouraging funding for Liberian refugee children.

Patricia Strong from Save the Children: "Armed conflict in the region is greatly threatening the rights and protection of children. Through our work with Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone it is clear that the parties in the Liberian conflict are not adhering to international agreements on child soldiers. With the deteriorating situation in Liberia and the current conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, we are now dealing with threats to the protection of children across the region.

"We would urge the UN and donors to remain committed to the reintegration and healing process for children in Sierra Leone - they have a fundamental part to play in the future peace of their country and their region".

For further information contact:

Sheila Boswell 020 7716 2214