UN Authority Figures

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board: Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, the issue of child marriage is a growing concern, as poverty often leads parents to force girls to get married. Photo: 'Adama', a young girl whose parents wanted her to marry a man more than twice her age after he got her pregnant
Source: Voice of America, October 17, 2015

Mission of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF): "UNICEF is mandated by the UN General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and strives to establish children's rights as enduring ethical principles and international standards of behaviour towards children. UNICEF mobilizes political will and material resources to help countries, particularly developing countries, ensure a "first call for children" and to build their capacity to form appropriate policies and deliver services for children and their families. UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children - victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities. UNICEF responds in emergencies to protect the rights of children. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority." (U.N. Children's Fund website, "UNICEF's Mission Statement")

Term of office: 2016-2018

Sierra Leone's Record on Children:
"Child Abuse: Sexual violence against children was a widespread and growing problem. NGOs reported that sexual exploitation and violence against children, particularly girls, increased during the Ebola epidemic, resulting in a rising number of cases of teenage pregnancies. Rapes of children under one year old were documented... substantial enforcement challenges remained... In many cases of sexual assault on children, parents accepted payment instead of taking the perpetrator to court due to difficulties dealing with the justice system, fear of public shame, and economic hardship... Conviction numbers...remained very low... early and forced child marriage continued to be problems... Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C was a problem,...nine of 10 women and girls had undergone the procedure and 13 percent of girls under age 14 underwent the procedure during 2013... Child prostitution continued to be a problem." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2015, Sierra Leone)