News / Africa

UN Peacekeeping Shutting Down in Sierra Leone After 15 Years

FILE - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gives a press conference, March 3, 2014, in Geneva.
FILE - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gives a press conference, March 3, 2014, in Geneva.
— At the end of this month, more than 15 years of United Nations peacekeeping operations will end in Sierra Leone.  U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in the country's capital for two days to mark the occasion. 

Peace Muhammad Duada Kamara was just a child when a civil war broke out in his country of Sierra Leone. 

"Because when the war break out and we see what is happening, we lost women, children," he said.

He also lost his father during the war, which lasted 11 years, from 1991 to 2002.  The war resulted in the deaths of 50,000 people and displaced some two million from their homes.

UNIPSIL, the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone, was created in 2008 and took over a previous peacekeeping mission that opened in 1999.
The main objectives were to give political advice, to maintain peace and the promotion and protection of human rights.

At a joint press conference in Freetown on Wednesday with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said the withdrawal of UNIPSIL was a sign of how far the country has come.

"Sierra Leone represents one of the world's most successful cases of post-conflict recovery, peacekeeping and peace building," he said. "Here we have seen great strides towards peace, stability and long-term development."
  
Ban also noted that a U.N. presence would remain in Sierra Leone, specifically with regards to human rights.

He also spoke of the determination of Sierra Leone's people to put the war behind them.

That is exactly what people like Kamara are trying to do.  He started a peace organization last year that aimed to promote peace among youth.

"We visit ghettos, okada [commercial bike] stations, schools and give advice to people and see how we can maintain peace, security and stability," he said.

Not everything is looking up in Sierra Leone.  The country still suffers a youth unemployment rate of 60 percent, according to the World Bank.

President Koroma said at the press conference that he was committed to his "agenda for change" and that youth was a priority.

The U.N. peacekeeping mission is slated to close for good on March 31.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid