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Sierra Leone; Conflict and consequences

Duration of the conflict In 2008 War Child was active in Sierra Leone 

Nature of the conflict
Civil war between the government and the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front.

Humanitarian aspects
Human Development Index: 180 (of 182 countries, in 2008: 179).

  • 75,000 fatalities during the war, among them 40,000 children;
  • 2,500 disarmed combatants;
  • 2 million refugees and displaced persons during the war;
      'Mid-range Wars and Atrocities of the Twenty-First Century', 10 September 2005).
    (Source: Human Development Reports and Human Development Index (2009),

    Country's current phase
    Slow post war economic recovery hampered by very high unemployment and the large informal economy which impedes employment growth and social development.

In-country developments

Sierra Leone’s post war recovery has been slow due to a lack of political and economic reforms and their negative impact on the economy’s capacity to generate employment, together with the government’s lack of resources to provide adequate basic services. Outbursts of violence between rival political parties’ supporters in early 2009 and widespread dissatisfaction over widening socio-economic problems and corruption comprise sources of potential political instability, as do increasing drug trafficking and political/military instability in neighbouring country Guinea.

While the war ended in 2001, children still live in poverty, lacking access to health and education services and supportive family environments. A tradition prevails of not listening to children. Issues affecting children are low on the agenda in a political and economic environment continuing to reward patronage politics. The ever-growing number of unemployed and socially alienated young people increases.