February 13, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Chairperson of the Human rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) yesterday called on the government and other partners to walk the path with them in achieving their goals by making available resources to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
Speaking during the opening of a two-day retreat organised by the commission to strategise for 2015, Brima Abdulai Sheriff described 2014 as a turbulent year for the commission due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease.
He said the outbreak forced them to change their focus from promoting and protecting rights to making contributions to the government and other partners to end the epidemic, which has so far killed more than 2,000 people.
According to him, the retreat is very important because it is critical in helping them maintain a focus on quality and efficiency in dealing with human rights issues, as well as plan for this year.
“As we plan, we wish to call on the government and all our partners to walk the path with us to achieve our goals. Make the resources available to us and share in the successes and celebrate with us,” he urged.
Commissioner Sheriff admonished staff to believe in the retreat process as according to him, they could do magic by fulfilling their mandate in protecting and promoting human rights in the country through investigations, public education, monitoring, advising government, reviewing draft and existing legislations, and producing an annual state of human rights report.
Other speakers at the retreat include Director of Training and Outreach at the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Edmond Sylvester Alpha, who stated that human rights are germane to the electoral process.
“Transparent and credible elections will not be a success without the respect for human rights. I admonished you all to treat this session seriously as you map out your plan for this year,” he said and congratulated the commission for its work on human rights.
Western Area Commissioner of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD), Georgette L.O. Demarke, also urged the HRC-SL to embark on community sensitisation, collaboration and public outreach, to get people understand their human rights because not all of them do.