West Africa: Guinea and Sierra Leone: no place of refuge

In late May 2001 United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the situation in the Mano River Union countries of West Africa as ”one of the most serious humanitarian and political crises facing the international community today”. After more than a decade of armed conflict and human rights abuses there are more than one million refugees, internally displaced people and other war-affected victims in the region. Thousands of civilians, including large numbers of refugees and internally displaced people, have suffered serious human rights abuses, particularly since September 2000 when there was a total breakdown of security along the borders of the three countries.

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