February 23, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
In order to effectively and efficiently review advised on and monitor compliance and implementation, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) yesterday conducted training on the interpretation of the three gender laws, as well as the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.
In 2007, the house of parliament enacted the three Gender Acts – the Domestic Violence Act, the Devolution of Estates Act and the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act to help put a stop to domestic violence against women and girls.
The training at the Lancelot Campbell Memorial Hall on Dundas Street in Freetown, which was supported by the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, would help the commission in developing appropriate checklist for monitoring the implementation of the said laws.
During the opening session, HRC-SL Vice Chairperson, Daphne Olu-Williams, urged staff members to take the training seriously as it would help in sharping their skills, while they wait for funds to carry out their activities.
She also implored participants to stay out of the misconception that domestic violence was a women’s affair, saying that men can also be victim of such act.
Also, Women and Children’s Rights Officer, Ann Marie Balboa, stated that women and girls suffer discrimination in almost every sphere of life, including marriage, adoption and cultural practices.
She said they were frequent victims of domestic violence and other related problems which was why the enactment of the three gender laws was seen as a major step towards state compliance to international and regional human rights instruments.
She stressed the need for staff to be adequately trained and knowledgeable in the legal interpretations of the acts, adding that it was one thing to enact the laws but a quiet different thing to understand their contents, implementation and enforcement policies.
According to her, the training would further enhance the capacity of staff and the commission to measure the impact of the implementation of the three gender laws and the Sexual Offences Act, through which they would be capable of cataloging areas that needed to be improved upon.