June 6, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has called on the Sierra Leone Police hierarchy to apply a rights-based approach when policing fracas and problems.
In a statement issued on Monday June 3, 2019 and signed by its Chairperson, Patricia Narsu Ndanema, the commission expressed grave concern about the incident of 31st May 2019, between the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and supporters of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC).
Confrontation ensued between police officers and APC supporters just after a High Court ruling on petition cases brought before it, stripping ten of the party’s Members of Parliament of their seats.
Supporters of the party were alleged to have set up road blocks around the precinct of their party office and set fire on tyres in protest of the High Court ruling.
The country’s human right body condemned the actions of both parties, as according to them, it prevented others from enjoying the right to freedom of movement as enshrined in Section 18(1) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The commission said they monitored the incident and observed that the police fired rubber bullets and teargas directly into the APC Headquarters while supporters were inside the building.
They reminded the SLP of their responsibility to protect lives and property and the provisions in the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Fire Arms by Law Enforcement Officials.
The police was urged to speedily conclude investigations and take appropriate actions where necessary, while the APC party hierarchy to admonish supporters to be peaceful, law abiding and address grievances through appropriate legal channels.
HRCSL further called on everyone to maintain the peace, be law abiding, seek redress from relevant state institutions, where there is an infringement of rights.
The commission also assured the public of its commitment to monitor and engage relevant stakeholders to ensure the protection and promotion of the human rights of all in the country.