CHRDI bemoans police refusal of permission to peaceful demonstration  

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CHRDI's Executive Director, Abdul M Fatoma

 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has condemned the Sierra Leone government for its alleged suppression of freedom of expression, citing the denial of security for a planned peaceful demonstration against the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education.

In a press release signed by CHRDI’s Executive Director, Abdul M Fatoma, the organization accuses the government of demonstrating an unwillingness to tolerate public protests against its actions.

“The decision not to provide security for the planned demonstration, which aimed to express disapproval of the Ministry’s dissolution of the University of Sierra Leone Court, is seen as evidence of the authorities’ uncompromising stance on suppressing dissent,” he charged.

Despite CHRDI’s efforts to engage with the Sierra Leone Police and the Security Sector leadership to request security for the protest, they were prevented from proceeding with their plans.

Fatoma emphasised that while the government may not always agree with public demonstrations, it is obligated to uphold citizens’ constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and expression.

Highlighting constitutional provisions guaranteeing the right to freedom of assembly, Fatoma stressed that the right is not absolute but must be upheld by law enforcement agencies.

He also referenced international protocols ratified by Sierra Leone, emphasising citizens’ ability to seek recourse if their rights are violated.

Fatoma concluded by asserting that the ability to hold demonstrations is a fundamental right, not a privilege, and called for accountability for any violations of this right.

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