Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone adopted its second National Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2019-2023.  Its first National Action Plan (NAP) adopted in 2010 for the period 2010-2014 was developed by a collaborative process that was undertaken by a Government-Civil Society Task Force.

Sierra Leone reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country stated that the implementation of the first NAP was affected by the outbreak of Ebola, and it expired in 2014 without achieving many of its strategic objectives. In November 2015, UN Women hired a consultant to undertake the final evaluation of the Sierra Leone National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and 1820 (2010-2014). Consultations were carried out throughout the country in collaboration with the National Steering Committee members, a structure formed for the implementation of the NAP, and offered recommendations for the second NAP. 

The NAP in 2019, SiLNAP II, built upon this final evaluation, as well as in-country monitoring and evaluation reports.  It aligns with the national priorities contained in The National Gender Strategic Plan, the Draft Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, and the Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan.  SiLNAP II focuses on six pillars of action: prevention of conflict in communities and addressing the root causes of conflicts at all levels; protection and support of women, girls and SGBV survivors and other vulnerable persons; prosecute and punish perpetrators of SGBV effectively and safeguard women’s, adolescent’s and girls’ rights at all times as well as rehabilitate perpetrators; participation and representation of women in leadership at all levels of decision-making in peacebuilding and development processes; promote peace culture and empower communities to generate and sustain their own well-being, environmental security and early response to health emergencies; promote effective coordination implementation monitoring and evaluation and reporting of the National Action Plan.  It has a comprehensive and detailed framework for monitoring and evaluation, as well as a concrete budget.

Sierra Leone gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, after decades of colonial rule under the British empire. The country was subsequently ruled under a military dictatorship from 1967 to 1968. The most recent history of armed conflict in Sierra Leone is the civil war, which lasted from 1991 until 2002.

The war had a disproportionate impact on women and girls, with thousands of women subjected to sexual violence as a weapon of war. In 2004, the Special Court for Sierra Leone ruled that the systematic violence that women were subjected to as “bush wives” during the war constituted a new crime against humanity in the form of forced marriage.  Similarly, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) increased alarmingly in the Ebola outbreak of 2014, including an uptick of girls impregnated by a male household member or security agents enforcing quarantine.  On the 7th February 2019 Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone, made an official declaration of a National Emergency on Rape and Sexual Violence, as a prevention and response mechanism.

Despite the grave human rights violations they experienced and the fact they were at the forefront of peace, security and reconciliation efforts, women were excluded from the Lomé Peace Agreement signed in 1999, and thus were not among the negotiators, mediators, or signatories. The agreement included one provision on women’s role in post-conflict reconstruction, which stated that “special attention shall be accorded to [women’s] needs and potentials in formulating and implementing national rehabilitation, reconstruction and development programmes, to enable them to play a central role in the moral, social and physical reconstruction of Sierra Leone.”

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