By Ishmael Dumbuya
The Human Rights Commission, an umbrella body responsible for monitoring, promoting and protecting human rights in Sierra Leone, has highlighted the strides the country has taken over the years in order to improve the human rights records of the country.
It came as the International Human Rights Day will be held on Saturday 10th December 2022
In his interview on Radio Democracy, the Vice Chairperson of the Commission, Lawyer Victor I. Lansana, started by stating that the International Human Rights Day is a day set aside by the United Nations through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on the 10th December 1948 in order to promote and protect human rights across the world.
He went on to state that the Sierra Leone’s Human Right Commission since its inception strives to live up to that commitment of protecting and promoting human rights in the country.
Victor Lansana added that the commission as a way of protecting and promoting human rights has held public enquiries into the activities of law enforcement officers and conducted stakeholders’ engagements.
He indicated that this year’s theme would be ‘dignity, freedom and justice for all, stand up for human rights’, noting however that, because elections are around the corner, the commission has decided to localize the theme to; human rights and elections.
The vice chairperson explained that this year’s event is a ‘Walk for Human Rights’ wherein participants’ will walk from Upgun to Taylor Cummings Garden, adjacent Cotton Tree, while the official event will take place on Monday.
When asked about the status of human rights in the country, Victor Lansana clarified that the Commission has the mandate of compiling an Annual State of Human Right status in the country, but it first goes to the Office of the President and then to parliament before it is finally placed in the public domain.
Victor Lanasana was elated to inform the public that Sierra Leone’s Human Rights Commission has been re-assessed as a grade A national institution by the United Nations Human Rights Council through the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions.
He further stated that the economic and cultural rights were proving very challenging as there are less employment opportunities, coupled with the rise in the prices of food commodities.
He said as a commission they urge government to address those areas, adding that the civil and political rights are at their best in the country.
He climaxed that one of the recommendations in the Annual State of Human Rights 2021 is for government to address the water shortage particularly in the Western Area, as people have got the right to potable drinking water in the country.
“A lot of children have become careless with their studies because they have to spend the rest of the day in queues to fetch water, particularly our girls who are prone to lots of dangers.” He ended.