Lusaka Sunrise

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This is a pretty cool video, sport can be such an actor in changing lives, teaching team work, discipline, respect…

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sand and sorrow

This is an HBO movie about the conflict in Sudan…check it out

Sierra Leone…

This is snap shot of a report done by Global Witness about the conflict in Sierra Leone and its links to natural resources…see full report at –

http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/sierra/2007/1010gwpbcs.pdf

Its very sad. My brother is going to live in this country, to seek to change the lives of some kids over there…pretty rad thing to do if you ask me.

A snapshot of Sierra Leone’s conflict and aftermath
In 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) supported by the-then President of Liberia Charles Taylor, attacked Sierra Leone from Liberia. In the brutal conflict that ensued, over 200,000 people were killed, over 2 million displaced, and thousands maimed by the RUF signature of chopping off the limbs of civilians as a terror tactic. 18 It is estimated that half of the women in Sierra Leone were subjected to sexual violence including rape, torture and sexual slavery.19
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) identified “years of bad governance, endemic corruption and the denial of basic human rights” as the root causes of the conflict. The TRC further described Sierra Leone as a deeply divided society, in a state of institutional collapse, which had reduced the vast majority of people to severe deprivation.20 While not the main instigator for conflict, economic opportunity provided a strong motivation for the RUF to control strategic alluvial diamond fields of eastern Sierra Leone, which were then smuggled through Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.21 The fight then became oriented around control over the diamond fields. It is estimated that towards the end of the war, the RUF was earning between US$25 and US$125 million annually from diamonds.22
In March 2003, the Special Court for Sierra Leone formally indicted Charles Taylor for participating in a joint criminal enterprise “to take any actions necessary to gain and exercise political power and control over the territory of Sierra Leone, in particular the diamond mining areas. The natural resources of Sierra Leone, in particular the diamonds, were to be provided to persons outside Sierra Leone in return for assistance in carrying out the joint criminal enterprise … as part of his continuing efforts to gain access to the mineral wealth of Sierra Leone and to destabilize the government of Sierra Leone.”23 Whilst Taylor himself was not charged with seeking to take over the diamond mines of Sierra Leone, his aid for the RUF in return for payment later, meant that he was, in effect, involved in racketeering. On January 19th 2005 an ex-RUF fighter reported to the Special Court of Sierra Leone that “Kono should be retained for one reason, for mining, because you cannot fight a war without economy.”24
The TRC of Sierra Leone identified certain diamond mining companies as being linked to the conflict, including Rex Diamond and Diamond Works.25 According to the TRC’s report Rex Diamond facilitated replacement parts for the government’s helicopter gunship worth US$3.8 million.26 The report also stated that Diamond Works acquired Branch Energy Ltd in 1995, and both were found to be linked to the international private security firms Executive Outcomes and Sandline International.27 Branch Energy introduced Executive Outcomes to the government of Sierra Leone who sought their services to push the RUF back from Freetown and the diamond areas of Kono.28 Soon after, in part payment for the services of Executive Outcomes, Branch Energy was awarded a 25 year lease on Sierra Leonean diamond concessions by the government of Sierra Leone. 29
Peace was formally declared in 2002, leaving the country to deal with over 70,000 combatants including around 7,000 child soldiers, millions of victims and a massive reconstruction and peacebuilding effort. Disarmament was completed in February 2004 and the 17,500 strong UN peacekeeping force, UNAMSIL, withdrew in December 2005.30 Post-war Sierra Leone is still struggling to consolidate peace and remains fragile. Youth unemployment is around 80%31 with around 70% of the population living below the poverty line,32 and 26% living in extreme poverty.33 Life expectancy is 41 years of age.34 GDP per capita is approximately $20035 and Sierra Leone is ranked 176 out of 177 in the UN Human Development Index (HDI).36 The army and police have been reformed with donor support, but significant challenges remain. Despite some reform of the justice sector, challenges include: access to justice, lack of accountability, and an enduring culture of impunity. Efforts to stamp out corruption have on the whole been unsuccessful. Despite the estimated US$1,1 bn37 spent by donors between 2003 and 2006, Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding and peace consolidation strategies are falling seriously short of addressing the root causes of the conflict. Critical issues that need to be addressed include massive youth unemployment and marginalisation, unabated corruption at all levels of government, paramount chiefs’ abuse of power, continued mismanagement of the country’s natural resources and the government’s inability to deliver basic social services. Tensions are increasing as there continues to be a lack of visible improvement in the lives of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. On the 11th August the All People’s Congress Party won the 2007 nationwide election