Canada News

Canada and Sierra Leone

6 July 2005 at 01:03 | 1073 views

Canada’s relations with Sierra Leone are limited. The Canadian Ambassador resides in Conakry, Guinea, and Sierra Leone’s Ambassador resides in Washington, DC. Both countries are members of the Commonwealth.

Canada has no official development assistance program with Sierra Leone, but between 2000 and 2003 directed over C$34 million in efforts to strengthen peace and rebuild the country.

Canada is closely involved with the Special Court for Sierra Leone and played an active role within the Security Council during the drafting of Resolution 1315 (2000), which established the Special Court. Up until July 2004, Canada chaired the management committee and contributed C$3.25 million to the operation of the Court, to which a Canadian, retired Brigadier-General Pierre Boutet, was appointed as a judge. Five RCMP officers are working in the Prosecutor’s office.

A Canadian law professor, William Schabas, is one of three international commissioners on the National Reconciliation Commission. Canadian soldiers and RCMP officers are part of the UNAMSIL contingent. Canadian soldiers also figure among the international instructors responsible for training the Republic of Sierra Leone’s armed forces.

Canadian funding also goes towards training police forces in the area of human rights; supporting good governance and respect for the rule of law, protecting children who must testify before the National Reconciliation Committee; working with the media to foster dialogue, democracy and reconciliation; and, helping children affected by the war.

Bilateral trade is very limited, totalling only C$6.8 million in 2003. Canada exported C$3.5 million (used clothing, cell phones and textiles), while imports amounted to C$3.3 million (cocoa beans, textiles). Canadian mining companies are operating or planning to invest in Sierra Leone shortly.