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The Krio ethnic group and their relationship with the rebels, government and general population - Sept. What is the situation with regard to women, and Mandingo women in particular? Are Mandingo people imputed with particular political opinions, or allegiance to particular parties? Is it common for high profile activists to be interviewed, assaulted and or detained by the authorities?

What is the level of state protection provided? Does the possibility of being regarded as anti-government affect the level of protection a person may receive? E - Treatment of homosexuals by society and government authorities; legal recourse and protection available to homosexuals who have been subjected to ill-treatment - Feb. The hospital did not have running water and only sporadic electricity due to lack of funds. Basic medications were available, but many drugs targeted at specific problems were lacking.

Hospital staff was poorly paid; in September nurses, caterers, and cleaners threatened to strike until their salaries were augmented and they were provided with uniforms and raincoats. In September, in an effort to expand mental health services to areas outside Freetown, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, certified 25 mental health workers in Bo. The Ministry of Health and Sanitation is responsible for providing free primary healthcare services to persons with polio and diabetic retinopathy as well as those who are blind or deaf.

However, these services were not provided consistently, and organizations reported that many persons with disabilities had limited access to medical and rehabilitative care. The National Committee for Social Action provided some support through limited programs to vulnerable communities. Some of the many individuals maimed in the civil war, including those who had their limbs amputated, received special assistance from local and international humanitarian organizations.

Such programs involved reconstructive surgery, prostheses, and vocational training to help victims acquire new work skills; however, amputees complained that they did not receive sufficient assistance compared to former combatants. The ethnically diverse population consisted of 18 ethnic groups of African origin, and many spoke distinct languages and were concentrated outside urban areas. In addition there were significant ethnic Lebanese and Indian minorities, and small groups of European and Pakistani origin. Little ethnic segregation was apparent in urban areas, where interethnic marriage was common.

The two largest ethnic groups are the Temne in the North and the Mende in the South. These groups each constituted an estimated 30 percent of the population; however, the Krio, 7 percent of the population, have historically dominated the civil service and judiciary. Strong ethnic loyalties, bias, and stereotypes existed among all ethnic groups. The Temne and Mende have vied historically for political power, and the violence during the year civil war had some ethnic undertones. Ethnic loyalty remains an important factor in the government, the armed forces, and business. Complaints of ethnic discrimination in government appointments, contract assignment, and military promotions were common under the former SLPP and current APC governments.

Residents of non-African descent faced some institutionalized discrimination, particularly in the areas of citizenship and nationality. No president has done so since the end of the civil war in The president must still approve all applications personally. A small percentage of the Lebanese population was naturalized during a previous period of government leniency, and they enjoy the full rights of citizenship, such as suffrage, access to health care and education, and the right to purchase freehold land. While not entitled to the rights of citizens, nonnaturalized persons born in the country are entitled to a Sierra Leonean passport, and many Lebanese Sierra Leoneans travel on one without difficulty.

The Lebanese community reported no cases of overt discrimination based on race or nationality, although community leaders stressed that, even though many Lebanese families have resided in the country since the s, they still feel alienated from the indigenous population. The constitution does not offer protection from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

However, the law was not enforced in practice. However, the government subsequently rejected three of Working Group recommendations, two calling for decriminalizing all sexual activity between consulting adults and one calling for legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Despite the lack of enforcement of the law, police continued to harass, detain, and beat persons perceived to be of the gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender LGBT community.

For example, on July 9, a group called police to complain that neighbors were throwing stones and shouting homophobic epithets at them, but the police arrested eight victims instead because they were perceived to be gay. They were held overnight and released without charge. Men dressed as women were singled out for detention, harassment, and public humiliation but were not formally charged with any crime or misdemeanor.

Gay pride parades and other public displays of solidarity could not safely take place. Social discrimination based on sexual orientation occurred in nearly every facet of life for known gays and lesbians, and many chose to have heterosexual relationships and family units to shield them. In the areas of employment and education, sexual orientation was the basis for abusive treatment, which led individuals to leave their jobs or courses of study.

It was difficult for gay men and lesbians to receive the health services due to fear that their confidentiality rights would be ignored if they were honest about their ailments; many chose not to be tested or treated for sexually transmitted infections. Secure housing was also a problem for LGBT persons. Their families frequently shunned gay children, leading some to turn to prostitution to survive.

Adults could lose their leases if their sexual orientation became public. Vigilante violence was common in urban areas, particularly for suspected thieves and unsettled debts. Police frequently were not present or chose not to intervene in vigilante attacks.

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The law allows workers in both the public and private sectors to join unions of their choice without prior authorization; however, it prohibits civil service employees, police, and members of the armed services from joining unions. The law allows workers to organize but does not prohibit antiunion discrimination against union members or prohibit employer interference in the establishment of unions. The law does not prohibit retaliation against strikers, even when a strike is lawful. The law provides for collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining must take place in trade group negotiating councils, each of which had an equal number of employer and worker representatives. While the government generally protected the right of workers in the private sector to form or join unions, its enforcement of applicable laws was untested.

According to the Ministry of Labor, approximately 35 to 40 percent of workers in the formal economy were unionized, including mainly agricultural, mine, and health workers. All unions are independent of political parties and the government. In some private industries employers were known to intimidate workers to prevent them from joining a union. There were no reports of violence, threats, or other abuses targeting union leaders and members by government or employers during the year.

The government generally protected the right to collectively bargain in practice. Collective bargaining was widespread in the formal sector, and most enterprises were covered by collective bargaining agreements on wages and working conditions.


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No reliable data was available on the percentage of workers covered by collective agreements. The majority of industrial actions were taken against the government, primarily to protest unpaid salaries and reduced benefit packages. The government generally did not interfere with peaceful demonstrations and attempted to negotiate with workers and labor unions in good faith. However, tensions complicated negotiations. In February employees of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority continually threatened to stage violent protests against the government preceding the March 1 privatization of the Port of Freetown.

Workers were concerned that Bollore, the French company that was awarded the government contract to operate the port, would lay off dockworkers but not pay them the full end-of-service benefit stipulated by the terms of employment in the Sierra Leone Gazette. All parties agreed the end-of-service benefit would be paid in installments over a period of five years, but the workers were not appeased.

On February 25, the minister of labor and employment attempted to convince the workers at the port to accept the severance package, but the angry crowd threw stones, water, and garbage at him and threatened continued violence. By early April the situation had been resolved, and laid-off workers received their end-of-service benefits and redundancy payments.

In February a group of teachers who believed the SLTU was not being aggressive enough embarked on a wildcat strike and refused to return to their schools. Shortly thereafter the SLTU and the government agreed to a pay reform package to take effect on March 1, although the SLTU claimed the agreement was reached independently of the wildcat strike.

During the intra-SLTU conflict, several irregularities in SLTU operations came to light, including illegal deduction of union dues from teacher salaries without prior agreement, misuse of funds, actions not in the interest of teachers, and generally nontransparent behavior. Meanwhile, in September teachers in Freetown, unhappy with the new pay package, refused to return to their schools for the new school year, delaying the start of classes by nearly a month.

The law prohibits most forms of forced and compulsory labor, including by children. Under a provision of the Chiefdom Councils Act, pending repeal or amendment since , individual chiefs may impose forced labor as punishment and have done so in the past, although there were no reports of it during the year.

Chiefs also may require villagers to contribute to the improvement of common areas, a practice that occurred in rural areas. There is no penalty for noncompliance. The government did not effectively enforce the law, and the practice of forced labor occurred. Forced child labor occurred primarily in artisanal diamond mining operations. Children, primarily boys, shoveled and carried sand and gravel to washing sites and often washed the sand and gravel. Younger children carried water and food to the miners and performed other errands.

Many girls, particularly teens, were forced into prostitution. Work sites were often dangerous, with frequent collapses of pit walls, and basic sanitation was nonexistent, with children regularly contracting gastrointestinal infections. In remote villages children were forced to carry heavy loads as porters, resulting in stunted growth and development.

Children were also exploited in sand mining, fishing, hawking, and granite quarrying. There were reports that children whose parents sent them to friends or relatives in urban areas for education were forced to work on the street where they were involved in street vending, stealing, and begging. The law limits child labor, allowing light work at age 13, full-time nonhazardous work at age 15, and hazardous work at age The law states that children under 13 should not be employed in any capacity. Provided they have finished schooling, children age 15 may be apprenticed and employed full time in nonhazardous work.

The law also proscribes work by any child under 18 between 8 p. The Child Labor Unit of the Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing child labor laws and monitoring compliance. The Ministry of Mineral Resources enforced regulatory prohibitions against the worst forms of child labor. The ministry also was charged with protecting children working in the diamond mining areas. The Freetown City Council contributed nonfinancial support to programs that provided free schooling and other services to at-risk youth. Mitigation efforts had mixed results. UNICEF officials were reluctant to advocate against children working for school fees too strongly, since without those fees the children would not be able to attend school.

The Ministry of Labor employed 20 labor inspectors to ensure employee health and welfare and 15 factory inspectors to ensure factories met minimum technical standards for safety. All inspectors focused primarily on Freetown and covered all issues of labor and occupational safety and health in addition to child labor. There were no reports that authorities conducted any child labor inspections during the year.

Primarily used in the informal economy, child labor was often hidden from inspectors and other authorities. The government was unable to produce any statistics on arrests or prosecutions for violating child labor regulations. Child labor remained widespread. Almost half of children ages 14 and 15 were engaged in some form of child labor. The rate varied from 27 percent in urban areas to 57 percent in rural areas.

Children were subjected to a variety of exploitative labor, including petty trading, carrying heavy loads, breaking rocks, harvesting sand, begging, deep-sea fishing, agriculture, domestic work, the sex trade, scavenging for scrap metal and other recyclables, and other age-inappropriate forms of exploitative labor under often hazardous conditions. Larger companies enforced strict rules against child labor, but it remained a pressing issue in small-scale informal artisanal diamond and gold mining. In many cases children worked alongside parents or relatives and abandoned educational or vocational training.

In rural areas children worked seasonally on family subsistence farms. Children also routinely assisted in family businesses and worked as petty vendors.

World Report 2011: Sierra Leone

There also were reports that adults asked orphanages for children to work as household help. Many girls engaged in prostitution as a means of support, particularly those displaced from their homes and with few resources. Because the adult unemployment rate remained high, few children were involved in the industrial sector or elsewhere in the formal economy.

Tradition requires children to fulfill their traditional roles, which include working to help generate income for the family or village even if it means missing school. In subsistence farming families, many children did not attend school, in order to work as field laborers. UNICEF indicated many children, particularly in the towns, worked part time to earn money necessary to pay school fees. The Campaign for Just Mining stated this was equally true in the sand and stone quarries in the Western Area surrounding Freetown. While these children attended school, they were effectively denied the time and energy to study and complete homework during their off-hours.

The paramount chiefs played varying roles in addressing child labor. CSOs pointed out that many were part of the problem. UNICEF mentioned that although many paramount chiefs enacted bylaws to strengthen existing national laws, for example, to prohibit children from being forced to carry heavy loads, no bylaws were passed specifically targeting child labor in the mining sector. In the mining areas, chiefs deferred child labor issues to the national government, since until all land used for mining was considered state property.

Many mining companies worked directly with the Ministry of Mineral Resources without going through chiefs, so the chiefs did not see social problems associated with mining as their responsibility. The Ministry of Labor is responsible for enforcing the minimum wage. Although not stipulated by law, the standard workweek was 40 hours 60 hours for security personnel. There was no prohibition on excessive compulsory overtime. Initially a union could make a formal complaint about a hazardous working condition; if the complaint was rejected, the union could issue a day strike notice.

According to government and NGO sources, laws and standards continue to be violated primarily due to lack of enforcement, rather than the deterrent effect, or lack thereof, of the penalties. Workers in the mining and road construction industries complained to their private employers about safety concerns, and companies took action before the government needed to intervene. Minimum wage compliance was particularly difficult to monitor in the informal sector.


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  • Most workers supported an extended family. It was common to pool incomes and to supplement wages with subsistence farming and child labor. The law provides for paid overtime. Workers who removed themselves from dangerous work situations without making a formal complaint risked being fired. Violations of wage, overtime, and occupational safety and health standards were most frequent within the unorganized artisanal diamond mining industry. There were numerous complaints of unpaid wages and lack of attention to injuries sustained while on the job, but victims often did not know where to turn for recourse, or their complaints went unresolved.

    Jump to In This Section. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

    World Report World Report Sierra Leone | Human Rights Watch

    Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from: Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life b. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention e. Denial of Fair Public Trial f. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: Freedom of Speech and Press b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association c. Freedom of Religion d. Respect for Political Rights: Official Corruption and Government Transparency. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining b.

    Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor c. Acceptable Conditions of Work. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life There were reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings. Disappearance There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment The constitution and law prohibit such practices; however, there were reports that police and other security personnel continued to use excessive force. Prison and Detention Center Conditions Prison and detention center conditions were harsh and sometimes life threatening.

    There are no prison ombudsmen to address prisoner concerns and grievances. There was no alternative sentencing program for diversion of nonviolent offenders. The government permitted family visits to prisoners and detainees regularly during the year. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention; however, police occasionally arrested and detained persons arbitrarily.

    Role of the Police and Security Apparatus The SLP, under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, maintains internal security, but it was poorly equipped and lacked investigative, forensic, and riot control capabilities. Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention The law requires warrants for searches and arrests; however, arrest without warrant was common.

    Denial of Fair Public Trial The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary. Trial Procedures The law provides for a fair trial; however, in practice, the lack of judicial officers and facilities regularly resulted in repeated long delays. Political Prisoners and Detainees There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees. Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies Both the central government judiciary and customary law courts handled civil complaints; however, corruption influenced some cases and judgments, and awards were inconsistent.

    Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence The constitution and laws prohibit such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions in practice. Freedom of Speech and Press Status of Freedom of Speech and Press The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. Internet Freedom There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitored e-mail or Internet chat rooms.

    Academic Freedom and Cultural Events There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association The constitution and law provide for freedoms of assembly and association, and the government generally respected the right of freedom of association; however, there were some restrictions on freedom of assembly.

    Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons The constitution and law provide for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. Protection of Refugees Access to Asylum: Elections and Political Participation Recent Elections: Women Rape and Domestic Violence: See section 6, Children. Persons with Disabilities In March Parliament passed the Persons With Disabilities Act of , which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment and provision of state services.

    Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The constitution does not offer protection from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining The law allows workers in both the public and private sectors to join unions of their choice without prior authorization; however, it prohibits civil service employees, police, and members of the armed services from joining unions.

    Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor The law prohibits most forms of forced and compulsory labor, including by children. Prohibition of Child Labor and Minimum Age for Employment The law limits child labor, allowing light work at age 13, full-time nonhazardous work at age 15, and hazardous work at age Make sure to buy your groceries and daily needs Buy Now. Let us wish you a happy birthday!

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