Sierra Leone : Truth and Reconciliation Commission report reflects experiences of children, by UNICEF. 

SOURCE WEBSITE: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/files/TRCCF9SeptFINAL.pdf .

 SUMMARY & COMMENT:

With UNICEF's help a version of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's findings which children can understand has been produced. Children were involved in creating some drawings in the report and in framing its recommendations for peace-building.

DETAIL:

"We are the children of Sierra Leone . The war was targeted against us, our families and our communities. It was a brutal conflict, which we did nothing to cause, but we suffered terribly because of it. Every child in this country has a story to tell - a heartbreaking one. Unfortunately only a handful of these stories have been told and made known to the world. The memories continue to weigh on our minds and hearts. We, the children of Sierra Leone , witnessed the worst possible human ruthlessness and terror. Children of this country were forced to fight for a cause we could not understand. We were drugged and made to kill and destroy our brothers and sisters and our mothers and fathers.  We were beaten, amputated and used as sex slaves. This was a wretched display of inhuman and immoral actions by those who were supposed to be protecting us. Our hands, which were meant to be used freely for play and schoolwork, were used instead, by force, to burn, kill and destroy. We do not believe this is the end of our story. Rather, it is the beginning. We, who survived the war, are determined to go forward. We will look to a new future and we ourselves will help build the road to peace."  This is an extract from the first-ever version of a 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' report intended specifically to be accessible by children. The report details the violations which occurred during the ten-year civil war in Sierra Leone , in which children were deliberately and systematically targeted.
When the violence ended and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, the children of Sierra Leone were asked to participate. With UNICEF's help a version of the Commission's findings which children could understand has been produced. Children were involved in all stages of the inquiry - from creating some of the drawings in the report to framing its recommendations for peace-building. Special care was taken to protect them, as victims and as witnesses.