Sierra Leone

Victim Assistance

Last updated: 18 July 2018

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 (CRPD) 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 reported that they did not receive sufficient assistance compared with former combatants.[3]

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.[4] One of the key provisions of the act was also the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPD).[5] However, the NCPD was significantly understaffed. Most of the main measures found in the Persons with Disabilities Act No 3 of 2011 had not been implemented in the six years since its adoption.[6]

Section 17(1) of the Persons with Disability Act 2011 provides for free medical services for persons with disabilities but remained non-functional due to a lack of medication in public health institutions. Section 14(1) also provides for free third-level education, with adaptation for accessibility to persons with disabilities. However, it was reported that adjustments for accessibility had not been made.[7]

Humanity & Inclusion (formerly Handicap International, HI) carried out 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.[8]

[1] The four centers include: the National Rehabilitation Center 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 Center, 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] Ibid.

[5] “Statement Delivered by Frederick J. M. Kamara, Chairman and Chief Commissioner of Sierra Leone National Commission for Persons with Disability at the 6th Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities held in New York on 19th July, 2013,” Awareness Times, 23 July 2013.

[7] Ibid.

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