The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone

Essay by kate123High School, 12th gradeA+, October 2008

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Sierra Leone's civil war is perhaps one of the most underestimated and grave breaches of human rights that the 21st century has seen. Facilitated by illicit drugs and arms trafficking, the war raged for eleven years with ambiguous political justification, with the governments underlying desire to control the diamond mines and trade in Sierra Leone. Amidst the huge atrocities and war crimes, the price of peace did not come easy; 200 000 people were brutally murdered, tens of thousands of men, women and children are limbless and a further two million people are displaced. This was brought to the concern of the United Nations Security Council, who took measures to intervention measures. However it is evident that the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone and the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone both were successful in keeping the peace on a community basis through effective disarming and demobilizing techniques.

The UN however failed to address the underlying political, social and economic causes of the war, leaving Sierra Leone's future jeopardized and uncertain.

The eleven year civil war was initiated by rebels the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) under the command of Foday Sankoh, and claimed to be fighting on behalf of Sierra Leone's impoverished and unrepresented masses. However the roots of the war go back to earlier political problems. Siaka Stevens, Prime Minister in the seventies and eighties, was a corrupted populist and favoured illicit diamond trading, diminishing any future economic stability. He was succeeded by Joseph Momoh in 1985, who exiled protesting students including Sankoh, Abu Kanu and Roshid Mansaray. They attended Moamor Quaddafi's secret service military training in Libya, and then inspired by Liberian president Charles Taylors' success in overthrowing the Liberian government with his NPLF (National Patriotic Front of Liberia) rebel faction, they created the Revolutionary United...