CHRDI concerned about current status of Human Rights Commission

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October 16, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie                                  

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CHRDI Chief Executive Abdul M. Fatoma

Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has expressed grave concern over the current status of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL).

On June 26 this year, President Julius Maada Bio announced the dissolution of all boards and commissions, including the HRC-SL.

The setting aside of the former commissioners by the president was met with several criticisms from some sections of the public, human rights campaigners and few civil society organisations.

The office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice subsequently put out a notice calling on people to nominate qualified and competent individuals to serve in the commission.

In an interview with Concord Times, CHRDI Chief Executive Abdul M. Fatoma urged that the process of appointing commissioners be speedy to allow the commission continue its work of promoting and protecting the rights of Sierra Leoneans.

Even though a panel has been set up to interview those already nominated to serve as commissioners, he stated that Sierra Leoneans are anxious to see a full functioning commission.

“Sierra Leoneans and human rights organisations want to see the full functioning of the commission without any possible undue delay, as we have already witnessed for the past several months,” he said.

According to Fatoma, the commission is a state-sponsored and state-funded entity set up under an Act of parliament with the broad objective of protecting, promoting and protecting the human rights of citizens.

He added that in doing so, they might perform a range of other functions, including monitoring of human rights violations, dispute resolution through adjudication or mediation, human rights education, documentation and research, advising governments on human rights issues and human rights standard-setting.

“The ‘Paris Principles’ emphasise that these commissions should operate independently of governments and have the necessary resources and infrastructure to function effectively,” Fatoma said.