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Political parties commit to denounce, abstain from hate speeches

July 17, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Leaders of eleven registered political parties in Sierra Leone have committed themselves to denounce and abstain from the use of hate speeches throughout the electioneering process.

They made the commitment at the end of a non-violent communications forum organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), at Raddison Blu Mammy Yoko Hotel in Freetown.

The forum provided senior officials from various political parties the opportunity to discuss and analyse the dangers and consequences of communications that could insight and create violence, which would in the process lead to chaos in the country.

In a declaration developed between them and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC), they agreed to denounce and abstain from writing and delivering speeches that can cause defamation and hatred and incite violence, through the mass media.

They also agreed to refrain from criticizing leaders, candidates and supporters of other political parties, based on unverified allegations or facts that might have been distorted as well as on aspects of their private lives unrelated with their political responsibilities.

Also, the used of polite and respectful language in political speeches, songs, slogans and announcements, as well as confine criticism of any party or candidate only to the policies and programs of the party or candidate and his/her past performance based on facts were also part of the draft declaration signed by political parties.

PPRC Chairman, Justice Patrick O. Hamilton, admonished political parties to frame their communication so as to encourage a violent- free 2018 multitier elections.

United Nations Residents Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Sunil Saigal said: “The way we communicate, the words we use, can influence other people to cause others to act or refrain from action.