From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

NOTICES & DOCUMENTS
Sierra Leone's Female Lawyers Condemn Incident(s) of Rape
By L.A.W.Y.E.R.S.
Mar 5, 2010, 19:02

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S
Legal Access Through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISPATCH

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S note with grave concern the alleged raping of 12 year old girl in Kono on 3rd March 2010 by a 52 year old man. It is alleged that the rape of the said girl ultimately led to her death. We commend the Sierra Leone Police, the Family Support Unit and all concerned for their speedy action in investigating and charging this matter to court.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S also notes with concern that the incidence of rape and sexual violence in the country has risen dramatically since the end of the civil war. We consider this an issue of grave national concern.  Rape is a heinous crime that has devastating effect and consequences. It is not only a crime under the Laws of Sierra Leone but it is a crime against humanity under International law and a crime against basic human rights. It violates the victims most cherished fundamental rights including the right to life, contained in the Constitution of Sierra Leone. This crime must be punished regardless of who the perpetrators are and the implications.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S urge the Police to investigate all rape and sexual violence cases speedily. Justice must not only be done but must be done expeditiously and transparently. If we fail to do so our failure will send the wrong message to would-be perpetrators. We call on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the Inspector General and the Judiciary to ensure that rape and sexual violence cases are treated with the immense seriousness that they deserve. We also advocate the justice system to make it easier for women to report cases of sexual and domestic violence. When cases are reported they must be investigated and prosecuted and attempts to “settle” them must be dissuaded. The Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, the Law Reform Commission and Parliament must ensure that the complex and complicated Laws relating to rape and sexual violence offences are repealed and replaced by easy to understand provisions which should be embodied in a single Sexual Offences Act.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S also calls on the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender & Children’s Affairs to establish a directory of donors and service providers where women can obtain information and help and they must intensify their efforts to raise awareness to prevent this atrocity. In line with the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, L.A.W.Y.E.R.S urges government to campaign against the harmful customary practices which tends to perpetrate this despicable offence

Rape victims and relatives of such, do not keep silent; speak out so the police can detain the rapists and thereby prevent such persons from ever harming another girl or woman again.

L.A.W.Y.E.R.S- Legal Access Through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice is a non-governmental organisation which advocates for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls in Sierra Leone and the reform of all discriminatory laws that affect women and girls.

 

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