April 29, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) on Thursday April 25, 2019 undertook monitoring of detention facilities across the country with the view to understanding the challenges faced by inmates in those places, as well as the institutions.
The monitoring exercise was conducted in Koinadugu and Falaba districts in the North, Kailahun in the east, Pujehun in the south, peninsular and its environs in the Western Rural, as well as western urban to mark this year’s Africa Pre-Trial Detention Day.
According to the Deputy Director of Monitoring and Research, Brima Kelson Sesay, the exercise will help them in understanding the difficulties faced by inmates and the institutions in the implementation of the Luanda Guidelines.
The Luanda Guidelines, which looks at the conditions of arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention in Africa, was adopted in May 2014 during the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
“The monitoring exercise of these facilities will serve as a basis for making recommendations and engaging relevant authorities which may result to policy change to enhance the welfare of inmates, thereby forestalling or minimizing violations of human rights in the detention facilities,” Sesay said.
As a member of the Network of African Human Rights Institutions (NAHRI), Sesay disclosed that a report on the monitoring exercise will be sent to them, highlighting the types of petty offences and the number detainees charged, conditions of detention centers and the laws criminalizing petty offences.
He added that during the 10th Biennial Conference held in Yaounde, Cameroun in October 2015, delegates agreed that Africa Pre-Trial Day should observe annually on 25 of April.
The HRC-SL was established by an act of parliament in 2004 with a mandate to promote and protect human rights in the country. Section 9 of the act gives the commission authority to access facilities and places of detention including prisons, police cells and probation facilities in order to investigate human rights matters.