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Sierra Leone

From Sierra Leone to Kosovo: Exploring Possibilities for Gendered Peacebuilding

Citation:

Cole, Courtney E., and Stephanie Norander. 2011. “From Sierra Leone to Kosovo: Exploring Possibilities for Gendered Peacebuilding.” Women & Language 34 (1): 29-49.

Authors: Courtney E. Cole , Stephanie Norander

Abstract:

Peacebuilding is a gendered process that has provoked feminists to critique the ways in which gender has become a popular initiative within international peace and conflict work. In this essay, we explore how gendered approaches to peacebuilding that draw upon themes of transnational feminisms might provide alternative possibilities for women and men. We do this by featuring the work of two organizations–Fambul Tok, a U.S.-based organization working in Sierra Leone, and Kvinna till Kvinna, a Swedish-based organization working in several post-conflict areas. Our analysis points toward the potential for redefining peacebuilding, transforming gender relations, and reconfiguring global-local relationships.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2011

The Meaning and Practice of Women’s Empowerment in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Citation:

Abdullah, Hussaina J., and Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim. 2010. “The Meaning and Practice of Women’s Empowerment in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone.” Development 53 (2): 259–66.

Authors: Hussaina J. Abdullah, Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim

Abstract:

Hussaina J. Abdullah and Aisha Fofana-Ibrahim address the meaning and practice of women’s empowerment in Sierra Leone’s post-conflict reconstruction and peace consolidation processes from the perspectives of the Government of Sierra Leone and the UN system in Sierra Leone. These two institutions illustrate how women’s empowerment has been pursued in two institutions with key roles and positions in Sierra Leone’s post-war renewal processes.

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, International Organizations, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

Bush Wives and Girl Soldiers: Women’s Lives through War and Peace in Sierra Leone

Citation:

Coulter, Chris. 2009. Bush Wives and Girl Soldiers: Women’s Lives through War and Peace in Sierra Leone. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Author: Chris Coulter

Abstract:

During the war in Sierra Leone (1991–2002), members of various rebel movements kidnapped thousands of girls and women, some of whom came to take an active part in the armed conflict alongside the rebels. In a stunning look at the life of women in wartime, Chris Coulter draws on interviews with more than a hundred women to bring us inside the rebel camps in Sierra Leone.

When these girls and women returned to their home villages after the cessation of hostilities, their families and peers viewed them with skepticism and fear, while humanitarian organizations saw them primarily as victims. Neither view was particularly helpful in helping them resume normal lives after the war. Offering lessons for policymakers, practitioners, and activists, Coulter shows how prevailing notions of gender, both in home communities and among NGO workers, led, for instance, to women who had taken part in armed conflict being bypassed in the demilitarization and demobilization processes carried out by the international community in the wake of the war. Many of these women found it extremely difficult to return to their families, and, without institutional support, some were forced to turn to prostitution to eke out a living.

Coulter weaves several themes through the work, including the nature of gender roles in war, livelihood options in war and peace, and how war and postwar experiences affect social and kinship relations. (Amazon)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Girls, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2009

Child Soldiers in Africa: A Disaster for Future Families

Citation:

Skinner, Elliott P. 1999. “Child Soldiers in Africa: A Disaster for Future Families.” International Journal on World Peace 16 (2): 7–22.

Author: Elliott P. Skinner

Abstract:

In the African civil wars of the last twenty years, an increasing number of combatants are as young as 8 or 10, with girl fighters increasingly common. Once inducted into the army it is difficult to reintegrate youth into society. In Sierra Leone, some youngsters were radicalized politically, finding little difference between the merits of democracy and the evils of militarism. Many of these children will be unable to raise viable families or lead viable societies. Human Rights Watch advocates a minimum age of eighteen for involvement in armed conflict of any kind. It seeks to have governments immediately release children to their families, or if they cannot be found, to appropriate alternative care that takes into account the needs of young people.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 1999

Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars

Citation:

Murphy, William P. 2003. “Military Patrimonialism and Child Soldier Clientalism in the Liberian and Sierra Leonean Civil Wars.” African Studies Review 46 (2): 61-87.

Author: William P. Murphy

Abstract:

This article uses a Weberian model of patrimonialism to analyze clientalist and "staff" roles of child soldiers in the military regimes of the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It thereby examines institutional aspects of child soldier identity and behavior not addressed in other standard models of child soldiers as coerced victims, revolutionary idealists, or delinquent opportunists. It shifts analytical attention from nation-state patrimonialism to the patrimonial dimensions of rebel regimes. It locates child soldiers within a social organization of domination and reciprocity based on violence structured through patronage ties with military commanders. It identifies child soldier "staff" functions within the administration of a patrimonial regime. A Weberian focus on the institutionalization and strategies of domination and dependency provides a corrective to views that exoticize child soldiers, decontextualize their behavior, or essentialize their "youth" as an explanatory principle.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone

Year: 2003

Razing Child Soldiers

Citation:

Monforte, Tanya M. 2007. “Razing Child Soldiers. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 27, 169–208.

Author: Tanya M. Monforte

Abstract:

This article traces the usages of the term 'the child' as a legal concept set in dialectical relationships on three levels of narrative. First, the emergence of the child in international law is described and read critically as a progress narrative imparting a tale of the historical emergence of children's rights. The second section examines the text of the "Child Soldiers Case" in Sierra Leone as a moment of confronting, and ultimately repressing, the 'child soldier' as a legal fiction. The third section attempts to locate the dislocated author and addressee of the primary narratives of the child soldiers' story, and draws out the uses of childhood as a rhetorical stabilizer in the absolute unstable: war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, International Law, Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2007

Where Are the Girls?: Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique : Their Lives During and After War

Citation:

McKay, Susan, and Dyan E. Mazurana. 2004. Where Are the Girls?: Girls in Fighting Forces in Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique: Their Lives During and After War. Montréal, Quebec: Rights & Democracy.

Authors: Susan McKay, Dyan E. Mazurana

Abstract:

By contributing to what is currently known about girls' distinct experiences in fighting forces, the presentation of findings from our study of girls in fighting forces is intended to assist the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Nations, other donors, conflictaffected governments, and local, national and international governmental and non-governmental organizations in developing policies and programs to help protect and empower girls in situations of armed conflict and postwar reconstruction. In addition, this book should alert child protection advocates at all levels to the presence and experiences of girls in fighting forces and facilitate the design of responsive gender-based policy, advocacy and programs. This book presents findings from a research study entitled "Girls in Militaries, Paramilitaries, Militias, and Armed Opposition Groups" for which we were co-investigators. Our work was funded by CIDA's Child Protection Research Fund and implemented in partnership with Rights & Democracy. The study examined the presence and experiences of girls in fighting forces and groups within the context of three African armed conflicts: Mozambique (1976-1992), Northern Uganda (1986-present) and Sierra Leone (1991-2002). Fieldwork in these countries was conducted between September 2001 and October 2002. In addition to that study, this book includes findings of a parallel study, "Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration: The Experiences and Roles of Girls in Sierra Leone and Northern Uganda," by Dyan Mazurana and Khristopher Carlson, which was funded by the Policy Commission of Women Waging Peace. Fieldwork for this parallel study was conducted between September 2002 and February 2003. One purpose of this research was to gather and analyze data to better enhance the protection of war-affected children, in particular, girls in fighting forces. Within the context of Northern Uganda, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, girls in the fighting forces have suffered major human rights violations, especially gender-based violence. The rights of these girls are under threat from their own governments, armed opposition forces, and, occasionally, by members of their communities and families. At times, girls are discriminated against by local groups and officials, governments and international bodies that keep secret or are unwilling to recognize their presence, needs and rights during conflict, post-conflict, demobilization and social reintegration.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa Countries: Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Uganda

Year: 2004

Kindergarten Killers: Morality, Murder and the Child Soldier Problem

Citation:

Faulkner, Frank. 2001. “Kindergarten Killers: Morality, Murder and the Child Soldier Problem.” Third World Quarterly 22 (4): 491–504.

Author: Frank Faulkner

Abstract:

The argument advanced refers to the problem of children serving as soldiers in various military or quasi-military groups around the world. It looks to international law for guidelines on how this situation might be brought to an end, examining legislation currently in force, and also why enforcement has proved to be problematical. Given the apparent inadequacies of legal instruments to prevent this type of issue occurring, this article takes a closer examination of the conditions that create underage combatants, together with analysis of the effects this has on the young people involved. In support of these observations, the text offers a real world look at the problem in Sierra Leone, a country that has suffered years of divisive internecine warfare featuring the extensive use of children in combat roles. In a postwar situation, the study includes analysis of the difficulties of rehabilitating Sierra Leonian children traumatised by combat experiences, which reflects on the larger dilemma of national reconciliation and peace building.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2001

Advancing International Criminal Law: The Special Court for Sierra Leone Recognizes Forced Marriage as a ‘New’ Crime against Humanity

Citation:

Frulli, Micaela. 2008. “Advancing International Criminal Law: The Special Court for Sierra Leone Recognizes Forced Marriage as a ‘New’ Crime against Humanity.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 6 (5) : 1033–42.

Author: Micaela Frulli

Abstract:

The Appeals Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Brima, Kamara and Kanu recognized that forced marriages may amount to crimes against humanity, falling under the sub-heading of ‘other inhumane acts’. This decision is to be welcomed because the practice of forced marriage is not adequately described by existing categories of sexual crimes. As forced conjugality results in particular psychological and moral suffering for the victims, it is argued that this heinous practice may be more appropriately pursued as a separate crime, under a definition that describes the entirety and complexity of the criminal conduct. The SCSL decision may also be important for its impact on the activities of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The widespread practice of forced marriage presently features in all the situations being investigated by the ICC and the inclusion in the ICC Statute of the offence of forced marriage as a separate crime against humanity could be discussed during the Review Conference in 2009.

Topics: Armed Conflict, International Law, International Criminal Law, Justice, Crimes against Humanity, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2008

Sierra Leone’s Former Child Soldiers: A Follow-Up Study of Psychosocial Adjustment and Community Reintegration

Citation:

Betancourt, Theresa Stichick, Ivelina Ivanova Borisova, Timothy Philip Williams, Theodore H. Whitfield, John Williamson, Robert T. Brennan, Marie de la Soudiere, and Stephen E. Gilman. 2010. “Sierra Leone’s Former Child Soldiers: A Follow-Up Study of Psychosocial Adjustment and Community Reintegration.” Child Development 81 (4): 1077–95.

Authors: Theresa Stichick Betancourt, Ivelina Ivanova Borisova, Timothy Philip Williams, Theodore H. Whitfield, John Williamson, Robert T. Brennan, Marie de la Soudiere, Stephen E. Gilman

Abstract:

This is the first prospective study to investigate psychosocial adjustment in male and female former child soldiers (ages 10-18; n = 156,12% female). The study began in Sierra Leone in 2002 and was designed to examine both risk and protective factors in psychosocial adjustment. Over the 2-year period of follow-up, youth who had wounded or killed others during the war demonstrated increases in hostility. Youth who survived rape not only had higher levels of anxiety and hostility but also demonstrated greater confidence and prosocial attitudes at follow-up. Of the potential protective resources examined, improved community acceptance was associated with reduced depression at follow-up and improved confidence and prosocial attitudes regardless of levels of violence exposure. Retention in school was also associated with greater prosocial attitudes.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Child Soldiers, Gender, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

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