Sierra Leone

Victim Assistance

Last updated: 05 May 2017

The Republic of Sierra Leone is responsible for landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other explosive remnants of war (ERW). Sierra Leone has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Conventional Weapons Protocol V, and has victim assistance obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Sierra Leone ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 4 October 2010.

Victim Assistance

Sierra Leone has services for persons with disabilities, including survivors and victims of war. There are four rehabilitation centers in the country. Some war victims, including amputees, receive assistance from local and international NGOs.[1] Such programs involve reconstructive surgery, prostheses, and vocational training. The results of a study on user satisfaction with rehabilitation services in Sierra Leone and Malawi indicated that the design and manufacture of prosthetics that use low-cost technology required improvement. The quality of assistive devices and service delivery in Sierra Leone could be improved through increased staff education.[2] However, amputees complained that they did not receive sufficient assistance compared with former combatants.[3]

Psychosocial support services are also available to persons with disabilities and amputees, including mine/ERW survivors, in particular through sports clubs.[4]

The Persons with Disabilities Act (2011) of Sierra Leone prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment and provision of state services; it also calls for free healthcare and education; equal access to government buildings, housing, and public transportation; and provision of rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities.[5] However, the laws and programs to provide access to buildings, information, and communications were not effectively implemented.[6] One of the key provisions of the act was also the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD), with the mandate, among other things, “To prohibit discrimination against persons with disability, achieve equity in opportunities for persons with disability and to provide for other related matters.”[7] National coordination on disabilities includes three strategic priorities: awareness raising, equal education, and equal employment opportunities.[8] This includes all war amputees, including mine/ERW victims. 

In 2015, the NCPD reported that it had prepared a post-ebola budget to address issues affecting persons with disabilities because persons with disabilities were adversely affected by the outbreak. The budget will address the challenges facing those who survived the disease, their families, and those who lost relatives with disabilities.[9]

In 2016, Handicap International carried out three projects to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream education system. The PEAK (Promoting Education for All in Kono) project, which runs from November 2016 to October 2019, includes the provision of assistive devices for 280 children with disabilities in 70 schools, in Kono district.[10] 

In 2016, there was no change in terms of services and policies for persons with disabilities, or their implementation.[11]

[1] The four centers include: the National Rehabilitation Centre of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in the capital Freetown; the Governmental Hospital Rehabilitation Unit, also run by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in Koidu; the Bo Regional Rehabilitation Centre, in Bo; and the Prosthetic Outreach Foundation in Makeni. Emmelie Andregård & Lina Magnusson, “Experiences of attitudes in Sierra Leone from the perspective of people with poliomyelitis and amputations using orthotics and prosthetics,” Disability and Rehabilitation, 10 November 2016, p. 2.

[2] Lina Magnusson and Gerd Ahlström, “Patients’ Satisfaction with Lower-limb Prosthetic and Orthotic Devices and Service delivery in Sierra Leone and Malawi,” BMC Health Services Research, 1 February 2017, p. 11.

[3] United States (US) Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Sierra Leone,” Washington, DC, 3 March 2017.

[4]In Sierra Leone, International Day of Persons with Disabilities Commemorated,” Awareness Times, 4 December 2013; and the Carter Center, “Sierra Leone Amputees: Enjoying Freedom and Football,” 7 January 2013.

[5] US Department of State, “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016: Sierra Leone,” Washington, DC, March 2017.

[6] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9]Delay Of Subsidy…MoFED Frustrates Disability Commission,” The New Citizen, 18 May 2015.

[10] Email from Nicolas Charpentier, HI Mano River Program, 10 April 2017.

[11] Ibid., 31 March 2017.