From the Field

    1. A Culture of Impunity for Rapists...


    There's no shortage of stories in Liberia. Poverty, politics, post-war development. Yet, I kept coming back to stories of rape. I interviewed child rape victims, their parents, the rapists - behind bars and free, unpunished in the community, and more.  There are so many unforgettable people and stories, that I don't want them to become buried on my site. Here is one of those stories from 2012.

  • CBC THE NATIONAL: Finding Private Gordon

    For nearly seven decades, a Saskatchewan family has wondered about the missing remains of a favourite uncle. The WWII soldier, Lawrence S. Gordon, was killed on the battlefield. Then, his body disappeared. Now, the Gordons are tantalizingly close to solving the mystery -- in the unlikeliest of places.

  • Middle East Video Diary

    Check out Youtube Video of my Middle East diary for JHR:

    From Egypt to Kuwait, JHR Expert Trainer Bonnie Allen takes us along on the journey as JHR conducts human rights reporting workshops in the Middle East and North Africa region. The trip was made possible by Canada's Department for Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

  • CBC RADIO: Will mineral riches reach the poor in Sierra Leone?

    CBC RADIO: Will mineral riches reach the poor in Sierra Leone?

    STORY ON CBC's The World This Weekend on Saturday November 17th.

    Election day in Sierra Leone, one that could be a turning point for the West African nation. 
    It became notorious in the 90s for blood diamonds, chopped off limbs, and drugged up child soldiers.
    Now, with more than a decade of peace, the mineral rich country has become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. However, the question remains whether Sierra Leoneans will benefit from the riches.
    I traveled to the dirty diamond pits of eastern Sierra Leone to interview the poorest diamond diggers ---

  • PRI's The World: Sierra Leone Women Candidates Face Intimidation

    PRI's The World: Sierra Leone Women Candidates Face Intimidation

    Sierra Leoneans vote this weekend in the country’s third election since the end of its brutal civil war. The West Africa country has made a lot of progress. There are better roads, more reliable electricity, improved health care and increased foreign investment. But the status of women continues to lag, and cultural and economic barriers continue to keep them out of the political arena.

    Women make up 52 percent of Sierra Leone’s population, yet account for only 13 percent of members of parliament and 19 percent of local councilors

    See my story on PRI The World --

  • CAMPAIGN SCHOOLS: Female Candidates in Sierra Leone

    CAMPAIGN SCHOOLS: Female Candidates in Sierra Leone

    In Sierra Leone training women candidates how to spread their messages and communicate with voters in the national and local elections. Five campaign schools, 300 female candidates, from 10 political parties. 'A Woman's Place is in the House...of Parliament'!!!!

  • University of Liberia

    University of Liberia

    Just wrapped up teaching Human Rights Reporting to journalism students at the University of Liberia - first course of its kind in the history of Liberia. Honoured to write the curriculum and teach it.

    1. Culture of Impunity for Rapists in Liberia



    In the tiny West African country of Liberia, more than one thousand five hundred women and girls report being raped every year -  and it's estimated that the real number is much higher.  Of those, only 6 percent of cases go to court. Tradition dictates that rape cases get settled at home, and rapist go free. As Bonnie Allen reports, the culture of impunity means rape continues at an alarming rate.

  • PRI The World: Liberia Rebrands Itself as Cruise Destination

    PRI The World: Liberia Rebrands Itself as Cruise Destination

    Liberia is trying to rebuild its tourism industry, almost 10 years after the country’s brutal civil war ended.

    This week, it welcomed its largest group of tourists in decades, when a cruise ship docked in Monrovia. Bonnie Allen has the story.

  • Peace Without Justice in Liberia

    Peace Without Justice in Liberia

    Comfort Tokpah, 50, lost her husband and brother in Liberia's civil war and was forced to marry a child soldier. Every day she must see the man -- who was once a child soldier -- responsible. I'll tell her story in a 14 minute documentary this Thursday on CBC Dispatches.

  • Abandoned Wives in Liberia: Circumcised Women Suffer Rejections by Men

    Abandoned Wives in Liberia: Circumcised Women Suffer Rejections by Men

    In the past week, my colleague Mae Azango has received mutilation and death threats for a recent article on the health risks of female cirumcision. Mae has covered this issue a lot in the past, but this backlash is unprecedented. The Secret Society that performs the cirucmcision on little girls guards its authority and power in communities by demanding secrecy. In 2010, Mae and I collaborated on a story about Liberian men rejecting circumcised women - an eye-opener in a county where a woman's ability to marry is paramount.

    I link to it here because I believe that men's rejection of circumcision could be critical to the phasing out of circumcision - since it contradicts one of the primary motivations of sending a daughter to be circumcised: helping her to get a husband.