The United Nations Mission In Sierra Leone

2612 words - 10 pages

Sierra Leone's civil war is perhaps one of the most underestimated and grave breaches of human rights that the 21st century has seen. Facilitated by illicit drugs and arms trafficking, the war raged for eleven years with ambiguous political justification, with the governments underlying desire to control the diamond mines and trade in Sierra Leone. Amidst the huge atrocities and war crimes, the price of peace did not come easy; 200 000 people were brutally murdered, tens of thousands of men, women and children are limbless and a further two million people are displaced. This was brought to the concern of the United Nations Security Council, who took measures to intervention measures. However it is evident that the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone both were successful in keeping the peace on a community basis through effective disarming and demobilizing techniques. The UN however failed to address the underlying political, social and economic causes of the war, leaving Sierra Leone's future jeopardized and uncertain.The eleven year civil war was initiated by rebels the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) under the command of Foday Sankoh, and claimed to be fighting on behalf of Sierra Leone's impoverished and unrepresented masses. However the roots of the war go back to earlier political problems. Siaka Stevens, Prime Minister in the seventies and eighties, was a corrupted populist and favoured illicit diamond trading, diminishing any future economic stability. He was succeeded by Joseph Momoh in 1985, who exiled protesting students including Sankoh, Abu Kanu and Roshid Mansaray. They attended Moamor Quaddafi's secret service military training in Libya, and then inspired by Liberian president Charles Taylors' success in overthrowing the Liberian government with his NPLF (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) rebel faction, they created the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Their political aims were not stated, but their goal was to gain control of Sierra Leone and take over the prominent diamond trade and natural resources. By initially promising free education and healthcare and equitable division of diamond profits, the RUF gained momentum and appealed to many local diamond barons. However their first attack in 1991 initiated the lethal eleven year war. Momah's government was weak and couldn't fight back, and when the National Provisional Ruling Council was established as the ruling body in 1992, they were equally as ineffective in repelling the RUF.This concern eventually led the United Nations Security Council to form UNOMSIL in July 1998. As an observer mission, its mandate mainly involved-monitoring the military and security situation and regularly updating the Security Council-monitoring the disarmament and demobilization of troops-training local police officers-reporting on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights-determining when conditions were sufficiently...

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