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Liberia
21.06.00
Urgent Interventions

OMCT and FOC appeal for the release of all women and children held behind the rebel lines

The International Secretariat of OMCT wishes to express its grave concern over the newly received information from Forum of Conscience (FOC), a member of the OMCT network, that the results of a National Research they have recently carried out show that about 3000 children are still being held hostage behind RUF lines. Children are being used as combatants, sex slaves and carriers of looted items. According to a reliable source, children are currently undergoing military training around Makeni.

The International Community carried out a heavy campaign for the release of members of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). However, the International Community disregarded the thousands of women and children who are held as captives, and are continuously raped and ill-treated.

Eric Sottas, the Director of OMCT, said today that he fully supports the position of Mr. John Caulker, Executive Director of FOC, who called on the International Community to organise an international campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of all children and women held behind Rebel lines. The two organisations suggest that messages be sent to President Charles Taylor of Liberia who has influence on the RUF movement requesting the unconditional release of all children held in RUF custody.

The same pressure that resulted in the release of the UN hostages in May, should be applied on behalf of these civilians.

Once again, OMCT and FOC call on the International Community to set up a war crime tribunal to investigate violations committed after the signing of the agreement of the Lomé Peace Accord of July 1999.
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