World history: Sierra Leone

Wars and conflicts of the world

Conflicts exist around the world, and they keep on spreading on every part of the world that a logical person would conclude that one day these chaos and strife will envelop the entire world, the eventuality would be humanity's destruction. Yet, hope is not lost because of the fact that humanitarian organizations exist to prevent the scourge of these conflicts. Prominent of these organizations is the United Nations organization which sends peace and security missions around the world to end conflicts. And two areas where conflicts exist in our contemporary times are in Sierra Leone and Liberia. These two African countries are chaotic in the sense that many lives therein have already been lost due to fighting and human life violations.

To fully appreciate the correlation of the United Nations to these two African countries, it is imperative to know the brief history of the UN organization, its Peace and Security Council, as well as the backgrounds of the conflicts that exist in Sierra Leone andLiberia.

The United Nations came into existence when leaders of 50 countries met in San Francisco, California in 1945 to agree upon the stipulations in the United Nations Charter. According to the Charter, the United Nations organization has the responsibilities to maintain peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems, and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.

The conflict in Sierra Leone started when the Revolutionary United Front and its soldiers tried to overthrow its government, but it was Sierra Leone's own army which later on succeeded in overthrowing the government. This was in the year 1991. A general election was held but the eventual result was not recognized by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), later on a military junta was established. Rebel forces which are against this junta emerged, thus fighting began. The result was that many people died and innocent citizens were caught in the middle. Since then, numerous accounts of human rights violations have been accounted leading to the killing of over fifty thousands individuals to date.

The conflict in Liberia, on the other hand, started when Liberian dissidents, during the latter half of the 1980s, supported by Sierra Leone's Revolutionary Front United army, started making attacks within the country and causing the economy to spiral downwards. Horror and murder reigned, coupled with the fact that law and order completely disintegrated. These events led to civil war aggravated by political scandals due to graft and corruption done by self-serving leaders. The ensuing civil war caused many deaths also, including innocent individuals and claimed the lives of more than one hundred fifty thousand people.

These catastrophic results arising from the two conflicts prompted the UN Security Council to send peacekeeping missions to these no-man's lands. As the Security Council's primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security, the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia caught the attention of the council.

Under the United Nations Charter, aside form its primary responsibility, it has also the responsibilities of investigating any dispute or situation that may cause international conflict, determine international threats and make actions to prevent these from endangering the peace, and make military actions against aggressive forces prejudicial to human rights and lives. The events that unfolded in Sierra Leone andLiberia have caused international repercussions that the UN Security Council deemed it wise to intervene in the affairs of these two countries to prevent further bloodshed. Thus, it sent peacekeeping troops to maintain peace, and assist those who are affected by the conflicts.

Violations of national laws and international law as well, human rights abuses, illegal transactions between countries, and proliferation of drug trade and arms dealing placed the two countries within the ambit of the functions and powers of the Security Council. If the conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia were left alone without international intervention, the two countries could have collapsed into non-existent states along with the disintegration of their culture and history.

Thus, the United Nations organization serves as the overseer of all activities that are related to international intercourse and interaction. Its armed wing, being the Peace and Security Council allows it to speedily help in bringing about agreement between two warring countries, end conflicts as early as possible to safeguard human lives, and even to the extent of providing the necessary aid of rehabilitation. UN interventions are indispensable to attaining international peace, as long as they do not encroach on a nation's sovereignty.

The conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, although slowly starting to abate, still have a long time to make reparations and attain true peace. Human rights violations such as rape, pillage and murder still exist. Wars and conflicts may still exist in every part of the world. But the United Nations organization will always be there providing aid, comfort, and eases the effects brought about by these scourges.