Government declares rape ‘national emergency’
Publish date: 11 February 2019
Issue Number: 810
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio has declared rape and sexual violence a ‘national emergency,’ following a series of cases involving minors. Bio said those found guilty of raping minors could face life imprisonment and directed all public hospitals to provide free medical services for victims of sexual assault. ‘As a nation, we must address this scourge. Sexual penetration of minors is punishable by life imprisonment,’ Bio said in an address at the State House in Freetown. CNN reports that the announcement comes amid calls by activists and Sierra Leone's First Lady Fatima Bio for stricter punishment for perpetrators of sexual violence. Bio said his administration would work with civil societies and development partners to improve laws criminalising rape and other forms of gender violence.