n Conflict Trends - The Sierra Leone Lomé Peace Accord

Volume 2007, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


Sierra Leone could be said to have recorded a remarkable achievement in its transition from violence to peace when, on 7 July 1999, a peace agreement was signed between the government and the rebel force, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), at Lomé, Togo. Many had expected that the signing of the peace accord would mark a significant breakaway from the violent past and its attendant contradictions of sustainable peace, democracy and development. Prior to the peace accord, Sierra Leone had been a theatre of violent conflict occasioned by political, economic and socio-cultural problems, where international humanitarian law - particularly on human rights - were flagrantly violated since 1991, when the war erupted. Some of the horrendous human rights abuses included the use of child soldiers, crimes against humanity such as rape, and the killing and maiming of non-combatants, among others. According to a 2001 Human Rights Watch source, "over 50 000 people have been killed to date, with over one million people having been displaced." This figure may be reliable because, as at 1998, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Sierra Leone was put at 700 000. The inability of the 1999 peace accord to curtail violence would have accounted for the rise in the number of IDPs.

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