Rise: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 May 2021:
In his State Opening of Parliament address last Tuesday in Freetown, President Julius Maada Bio announced Sierra Leone will become the Lead Facilitator of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence.
Sexual violence is a universal issue that demands international recognition. According to the World Health Organization, 35% of women worldwide – 1.3 billion people – are sexual violence survivors.
However, the United Nations General Assembly has never passed a resolution focused solely on protections for sexual violence survivors. Around the world, people are demanding recognition and justice for survivors who are denied basic rights and access to information and justice.
President Bio stated, “Last month I met with rape survivors who shared their stories with me. The silence of leaders has been deafening. We must speak up. I have directed the Sierra Leone Mission to the United Nations to introduce a resolution on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence.”
This move to introduce a resolution on the topic at the UNGA builds on the President’s track record of leading on this issue within the country. In 2018 President Bio became the first Head of State to declare rape and sexual violence a national emergency.
Going forward, the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations will work closely with civil society organizations, namely survivor-led groups such as Rise, to socialize the resolution text with UN Member States Missions and prepare for introduction in the UNGA Third Committee.
“We are grateful to be working with H.E. President Bio and Sierra Leone, who are leading by example from the inside out, to back this resolution,” said Amanda Nguyen, CEO and Founder of Rise. “Although we still have a ways to go, this step is crucial in the process to ensure that sexual violence survivors have access to justice across the world.”
Rise is a survivor-led international non-profit organization that has worked with lawmakers since 2014 to pass 35 laws that create civil rights protections for more than 85 million survivors of sexual violence. Rise is led by Amanda Nguyen, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Harvard graduate, Forbes Under 30 honoree, and Marie Claire’s Woman of the Year recipient who penned her own civil rights into existence at age 24 by creating and passing the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
A short video about Rise’s work can be found linked here. Rise is committed to the passage of a UN resolution securing access to justice for survivors, believing justice should not depend on geography. Over the past four years, Rise has been working with supporters at the United Nations to pass a resolution focused on access to justice for survivors of sexual violence.
I commend the consistency and good judgement of RISE for working hand in glove with lawmakers to help create Civil rights protections for survivors of all forms of sexual violence:But I kindly implore them to be prudent,cautious and not applaud the criminal old soldier in State House too quickly for he is a man that is known to have two faces – one for the gullible people of Sierra Leone and another for the unguarded,credulous International community. Now let me clarify things a little further. There is an eerie suspicious frown that always lingers, dawdles, and sits at will with a fierceness on the face of the President at all times like a merciless wolf waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey – Is that the man you trust? Don’t answer just yet – that was just one of his duplicitous faces; But then again if you are only seeing him for the first time how would you know that he is as changeable as the weather – sometimes it is cold and freezing with snow or raining cats and dogs and violent storms. At other times it is warm, hot and sunny. Folks, there’s another strange face of the inept President that he interchanges at will with first one to buy the favors and due considerations of the West.
It is face with a beaming bright artificial smile that was perfected with countless years of ardent practice; Yup, the man took acting lessons behind the scenes from his amateur actress wife who has long mastered the meretricious,phony art of selling fake dreams and promises to poor girls and women in our societies. When he laughs out loud it is to ensure that investors don’t feel suspicious or nervous of his dubious and spurious intentions – That right there is another face of the President – It seeks its own personal interests and not those of the people of Sierra Leone? So, who do you trust? A faceless, indecisive President lacking in character and individuality like Jacob Zuma who it was said was a Wife Beater or a two-faced President like Maada Bio with a Gold Digger by his side tying him to her skirt and pulling him submissively along the way on her SLPP kitchen aprons strings?
I would advise RISE to deal with his President, the SLPP and his wife as though they were dealing with armed bandits and brazen thieves because that’s what they are; They are using the sufferings and pain of women who are victims of all despicable forms of violence to enrich themselves and promote their own personal interests. Mr President – The lead facilitator of an UNGA resolution on access to Justice for survivors of sexual violence huh? Hahahahaha…You guys can’t be serious. (lol) Gentlemen – please try and tell me another story that makes sense.
Unfortunately, there were estimated 215000 to 257000 rape cases during the eleven years of the RUF wars in Sierra Leone. The war might have ended in the early part of the 2000s. But for many perpetrators of those heinous crimes against women and girls, by drugged up child soldiers, its effect can still be felt today.Over the past few years, the spike in rape cases, and murders up and down the country can all be traced back to that senseless war, that was waged against the population by this socalled freedom fighters, under the command of the most evil men that grace the land of Sierra Leone,Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie and Isah Sesay. Yes, is always welcome when President Bio takes the lead on matters of such importance both nationally, and internationally. This latest initiative to lend his support for a United Nations resolution for the protection of sexual violence victims is a step in the right direction.
In 2018, he declared a state of rape emergency. Which right uptill that time ,was never acknowledged. Suddenly we realised there is a rape epidemic that was gripping Sierra Leonean society. Polite society knew of its existence and pervasiveness, but unfortunately, choose to look the other way. And it doesn’t help , when rape victims that are brave enough to report a crime to the police, are treated like the culprit rather than the victims. In Sierra Leone, we are slow to act, on issues that are detrimental to the health of our nation. Unfortunately, rape of women, and girls has always been used as a weapon of wars, to traumatised the child beares of a nation. In Sierra-leone, the victims of this heinous crimes have always suffered in silence.
Sometimes, when they tell their family members about their ordeals, they are hung out to dry. In some African traditions, it is a taboo subject. So victims are afraid to speak out, because they are made to feel guilty over what happened to them, even though they victims. Now President Boi have stick his neck out, to support rape victims, through the efforts of RISE,and the UN, the talking should stop, we want to see action. Bio knows how to speak. He sometimes come across as a real Estate sales man.He can convince anyone listening, he can walk on water. But when it comes to action, is a whole different kettles of fish.