June 14, 2018
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) would today (June 14) conclude three-day training on complaints handling mechanisms at the Civil Service Training College in Freetown. The training brought together staff of the commission across the country.
One of the core functions of the HRC-SL is to ‘investigate or inquire into, on its own or on complaint by any person, any allegations of human rights violations and to report thereon, in writing’ as provided for in section7 (2)(a) of the Act.
The Directorate of Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services (DCILS) is primarily responsible to receive, process and investigate complaints of human rights violations made by members of the public.
According to the Director of Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services, Doris Sonsiama, complaints handling process of the commission is guided by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Act (No. 9) of 2004 and their Complaints, Investigations and Inquiries Rules, 2008.
She explained that investigations into alleged cases of human rights violations by the commission have been an important part of their work.
“In time past, this has helped to enhance the image and visibility of the Commission not only within Sierra Leone but also internationally,” she said.
The training covered all aspects of the Commission’s complaints handling procedure, starting from the point where a complaint is received on to where reports and opinions are finalised. It also covered other pertinent human rights issues which officers encounter frequently when handling complaints.
Former Chairpersons of the Commission, Yasmin Jusu Sheriff and Justice Jamesina King, gave a presentations on the topics: “Effective monitoring and documentation of human rights violations” and the overview of complaint handling procedures and use of mediation and conciliation as redress mechanisms, respectively.