From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP Women Condemn Kono Violence
By Bampia Bundu
Nov 25, 2010, 18:02

The National Women’s Wing of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has strongly condemned the violent attacks against their party supporters and offices, with particular reference to women in Kono last week.

In a press briefing summoned on Tuesday 23rd November, 2010 they unequivocally stated that violence and discrimination against women is most unacceptable. “Violence and discrimination against women violate the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity, and is an obstacle to the participation of women on equal terms with men, in political, social, economic and cultural life of the country,” Women’s Leader Isata Jabbie Kabbah (IJK) told newsmen. She said violence against women hampers the growth and prosperity of the country and makes it difficult to fully develop their potentials in the service of Sierra Leone and of humanity.

“On behalf of the women of Sierra Leone, we totally condemn this systematic act of barbarism against women taking place in full view of the Sierra Leone Police. We believe that such acts of violence and intimidation are responsible for the low participation of women and girls in the politics of Sierra Leone,” IJK explained, adding “we are deeply concerned that no one has taken responsibility for the acts of violence against women over the last ten days, irrespective of an earlier apology by the President for acts of violence perpetrated against women which was backed by promises to defend and protect women against all acts of violence.”

The Women’s leader also noted that the women of Sierra Leone were equally concerned that no one has taken responsibility for the rape of women at the SLPP office in March 2009. “Cognizant of Sierra Leone being a signatory to CEDAW and other international instruments calling for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women, we therefore call on the Government of Sierra Leone and the international community to take appropriate action to address the violations of women’s rights,” she noted.

The SLPP Women’s Wing also called on the government to publicly condemn the acts of violence. They called on government to immediately commence an independent investigation into the Kono incident; and for the PPRC to include provisions protecting the rights of women in the Code of Conduct for political parties. They also called on gender and right-based civil society organizations to identify themselves with women in realizing their political rights, while urging the Sierra Leone Police to provide adequate security personnel for all female aspirants before, during and after elections.

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