Liberian Stories: A Population Caught in the Cycle of Violence and Displacement

Tuesday, July 1, 2003
Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF)
Western Africa

Random violence, looting, rape, forced recruitment, family separation and general chaos have been part of the daily life of many Liberians for more than a decade. In addition to countless civilian deaths, the ongoing conflict in Liberia is causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee throughout the region. It is estimated that, by June 2003, 100.000 Liberians were displaced within their country whilst 150.000 had sought protection in neighbouring Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast.Rebel and government attacks are frequently accompanied by sexual violence. Women and girls are separated from their families and forced to stay with the fighters. Although it is hard for people to openly talk about such issues, even though it is sometimes not explicitly stated, it is strongly implied by interviewees that rape and sexual assault is commonplace.

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MSF, Liberian Stories: A Population Caught In a Cycle of Violence and Displacement, 2003