Sierra Leone has made significant progress in the area of human rights since the end of the armed conflict in 2002. As awareness of human rights in Sierra Leone is still relatively low, the role which human rights defenders play in the development of this awareness and provision of basic human rights education is critical.
Human rights defenders have generally been able to undertake their work without risking to suffer serious attacks from the authorities. No cases of killings or long term detentions of HRDs were reported in recent years.
Nevertheless, some HRDs still face harassment and acts of intimidation when pursuing their work. Attacks against gender and sexual rights organizations have been reported, including destruction of property and blackmailing. These organisations face particular challenges in rural areas. In one case, an NGO had its office broken into and partially destroyed only a few months after having to change location following an eviction notice that was also reportedly linked to the nature of their work. Human rights defenders denouncing human rights violations by state authorities and traditional leaders also faced harassment.