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Sexual Violence During Liberian Civil War


UN-Trained Monitors To Document Sexual Violence During Liberian Civil War

Human rights monitors are travelling around Liberia documenting crimes of sexual violence during the country's 14-year civil war in a project backed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Over three months, 22 monitors will interview a random sample of 4,000 Liberians and give the results from those interviews to the country's soon-to-be established Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the agency announced on Tuesday.

Some 40 per cent of the 600 people interviewed so far said they suffered some form of sexual abuse during the war that ended in August last year, according to UNDP.

The atrocities included rape, gang rape, the rape of children, the insertion of foreign objects into genital areas and being stripped and put on public display.

Victims are being referred to trauma counsellors, psychologists and health workers after their interviews.

UNDP Human Rights Officer Awa Dabo said the goal of the project - which is being implemented by the National Human Rights Centre of Liberia - is to advocate for the country's many victims of sexual violence.

"We have young girls who have been infected with AIDS," Ms. Dabo said. "We have women who became pregnant and have been ostracized by their families and their communities. We are finding that men were also victims of sexual violence."

The project is being financed by the UNDP and World Vision, a non-governmental organization (NGO). The monitors have been trained by the UNDP.

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