Sierra Leone: Trained for Jobs that Weren’t There

  • Jaremey R. McMullin
Part of the Rethinking Political Violence series book series (RPV)


No assessment of ex-combatant reintegration would be complete without a close look at Sierra Leone. Human rights abuses and war crimes perpetrated by combatants on all sides of the conflict have shaped perceptions and assumptions about ‘ex-combatants’ as a social category after war. Fighting twice resumed, putting the entire peace process on hold, and testing the flexibility of reintegration actors to respond to disarmament and demobilization delays. Fighting forces’ periodic use of diamonds to fuel conflict resulted in novel multilateral arrangements to control diamond exports from the region and meant that reintegration actors were under pressure to discourage ex-combatants from returning to the diamond mines. The duration and size of the UN mission (UNAMSIL) was unprecedented, underscoring that the UN had staked its peacebuilding reputation on success in Sierra Leone in the wake of high-profile peacekeeping failures in the 1990s. The creation of a National Commission for DDR (NCDDR) to manage reintegration represented a new approach to the design and implementation of programs, meant to foster political commitment to reintegration among ruling government authorities. The decision to limit cash payments but to give all ex-combatants a choice of assistance opportunities spanning vocational, agricultural, and educational sectors was also a reintegration first. (In Mozambique only a fraction of ex-combatants were able to participate in training programs.) Finally, a spate of violent conflicts in the West African region created unparalleled challenges for reintegration actors that were not always met successfully.


Security Council Transitional Justice Cash Payment Diamond Mining Vocational Training Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Jaremey R. McMullin 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaremey R. McMullin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of International RelationsUniversity of St AndrewsUK

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