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» 04.06.2010 - Trafficked Bangladeshis return home from Liberia
» 07.10.2009 - Young Liberians to audition for top music award
» 04.05.2009 - Taylor's acquittal plea thrown out
» 20.10.2008 - Clearing Liberia of Marijuana an uphill battle
» 20.06.2008 - UN extends Liberia embargo
» 15.05.2008 - Taylor's RUF link exposed
» 25.04.2008 - Striking "Liberian refugees" await repatriation
» 31.03.2005 - Côte d'Ivoire recruiting Liberian ex-child soldiers

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Human rights | Society

Liberia's war-traumatised children to get help

afrol News, 24 August - Thousands of Liberian children were abused as child soldiers, sex slaves and forced child labour during the country's long and brutal civil war. Now, international aid agencies are to make an effort to help these traumatised children back into a meaningful life.

Liberia endured 15 years of civil war before a comprehensive peace accord was signed in August 2003. Exactly one year later, an estimated 15,000 children - that had been forcibly abducted or recruited into the war, either as soldiers, or as cooks, sex slaves, and porters - are still waiting for a comprehensive aid programme.

Thousands of demobilised child soldiers are now living at interim care centre that are supported by international aid agencies and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF). Efforts to trace their families and seek their reintegration into society are now finally underway.

The plights of the demobilised child soldiers and the freed sex slaves is now becoming one of the main focuses of aid work in Liberia. UNICEF head Carol Bellamy is currently on a three-day visit to Liberia to assess progress in reintegrating of the abducted youngsters, giving their forgotten case the best possible publicity.

Ms Bellamy is set to talk to demobilised children now living at the care centres. She is also scheduled to visit a child-friendly space in a camp for internally displaced people, a drop-in centre for sexually abused children, as well as a vocational training programme.

She further is to meet with the Chairman of the national transitional government, Charles Gyude Bryant, as well as the senior UN envoy to the country, Jacques Paul Klein, government ministers, aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and donors to further the case of Liberia's war children.

The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), with some 16,000 troops and police on the ground, is supporting a ceasefire and peace process between former President Charles Taylor's forces and two major opposition groups in preparation for elections next year. "It is also promoting humanitarian activities," the UN reports today.

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