President Ernest Bai Koroma has in the most strongest of terms decried what he considered as the continued acts of sexual and gender-based violence being meted out on women and girls in the country.
Unveiling Sierra Leone's national action plan on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820 on women, peace and security, the president said: "We will continue to name and shame all those that engage themselves in such acts."
He called on all to unite in putting women in their rightful place in society, while admitting to the fact that sustainable peace would not be achieved without the full participation of women.
According to Mr. Koroma, the UN resolution 1325 and 1820 aims at promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls, noting that no country has made progressed without the full participation of women in the development process.
"The UN resolution 1325 is the first that recognizes the effect of armed conflict on women and girls. It reminds us of the critical role women can play in a conflict situation. As a government, we will give our fullest support to the implementation of the plan," he assured.
The president acknowledged the role played by the ministry of social welfare, gender and children's affairs and its partners in developing the plan, thus urging them to continue.
Giving an overview of the action plan, WANMAH 1325 project coordinator, Dr. Nana Pratt said the plan was developed to aid the full implementation of the UN resolution 1325 and 1820.
She said the resolution was adopted by the United Nations Security Council in 2000 in Namibia, and that Sierra Leone was the fourth country in Africa to have an action plan on the resolution.
"A total of 18 countries have so far developed an action plan on the resolution. We are very proud to be among these countries. The plan was developed by the government and civil society," she noted.Minister of social welfare, gender and children's affairs, Dr. Soccoh Kabia said the development of the action plan was very participatory, saying "the UN resolution 1325 and 1820 is relevant to the nation because it deals directly with the impact of war and conflict especially on women and girls."
He said the resolution also makes it obligatory on government, the UN and other donor agencies and civil society to work together to establish and maintain the rule of law.
Executive representative of the UN secretary general, Michael Schulenburg, congratulated the president and people of Sierra Leone on the successful launch of the action plan.
He said the United Nations would fully support its implementation process, adding that Sierra Leone was a factor of stability in the sub-region.