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Congresswoman Receives National Award

June 19, 2000

Washington, DC - Representative Cynthia A. McKinney (D-GA), Member of the House International Relations Committee, where she serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, recently received the "Outstanding Contribution Award" from the National Organization of Sierra Leonians in North America (NOSLINA).

The award was presented in appreciation of her tireless advocacy to restore peace and democracy to Sierra Leone. "Congresswoman McKinney is both very eloquent and intelligent. Her work in Congress represents her humanitarian efforts on behalf of Sierra Leonians," said NOSLINA's Brian Conton.

On several occasions, McKinney has urged President Clinton to provide additional humanitarian relief to that region and she was the first Member of Congress to do so.

Expressing grave concern over the eight-year long rampage of terrorism in Sierra Leone, McKinney sated earlier in the year,"Reports show that the rape of women and girls appears to be standard practice for the rebels. In addition, rebels frequently forced civilians into the streets for use as human shields and the execution of an entire population was carried out for simply refusing to obey instructions to dance and make music on the streets. The United States must engage the diamond cartel to end its purchase of illicit diamonds from areas of Sierra Leone controlled by RUF (Revolutionary United Front)."

While humbly accepting her award before a group of Sierra Leonians, McKinney stated, "I am very grateful to NOSLINA for this award, but the struggle continues. An International Tribunal must be established so that those responsible for the internationalization of Sierra Leone's troubles can be held accountable for their crimes. I am dismayed that the US State Department appears to be on the side of criminals rather than on the side of justice."

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