July 16, 2021
With support from UNDP and Irish Aid, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has, as part of its mandate to investigate and inquire into complaints, concluded Mobile Complaints Hearing at Royona Hall, in Mile 91, Tonkolili District.
Mobile Complaints Hearing is designed to take the Commission to remote communities, where people normally will not have access to its facilities.
The hearing at Mile 91 on Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13, 2021 brought together key stakeholders in the township, including the Section Chief of Yoni Mamela, Yusufu Barrie.
Residents of Mile 91 and its immediate environs were given the opportunity of making their complaints on issues including; unequal protection before the law; Property deprivation; cases of unfair hearing, child maintenance (child support), child labor; early marriage and domestic violence.
During the opening session, Commission Simitie Lavaly said the commission was happy to be in that part of the country to receive complaints from residents on issues affecting them.
“We are happy to be here and also the statements from the various speakers, especially women,” she said and dispelled the thinking from people that human rights is from the white, saying that it is meant for people to enjoy what is due them.
Commissioner Lavaly appealed to residents within Mile 91 to make use of the opportunity provided to them by the Commission. She added that not all complaints the Commission can handle, but assured that those they can’t deal with will be referred to their partners like the police.
Also Commission Dr. Gassan Abess said: “We are fighting for the rights of police, medical workers and chiefs, among others. So any case you have, once it borders on human rights issues, we will be there to help. If we are not able to address it, we will send it to the relevant authorities handle the cases.”
Section Chief of Yoni Mamela, Yusufu Barrie welcomed the Commission and stated that their presence in the township is timely as they have so many issues they have been grappling with over the years.
“This hearing is a timely intervention. This is the first in the history of Mile 91that the Human Rights Commission has come to our doorstep. We are extremely happy for this hearing as the issues are many in this area,” he said.
On behalf of the women, Fatmata Marian Sesay thanked the Commission for taking the hearing to their doorstep and added; “This hearing has provided women the chance to make complaints about things disturbing us.”
She claimed that most of the companies operating in the township have little or nothing about women because they are of the view that they have no right when it comes to land.
A participants, Edward Yayah Bangura appreciate the presence of the Commission and stated that before this time, they were thinking that there is nowhere to complain when their rights is abuse or violated.
“This Mobile Complaint Hearing by the Commission has proven to us that case is not about money and as long as your rights is trampled upon, there are agencies like the Human Rights Commission to make a complain,” he said.
After making his complaint to the HRCSL Mobile Complaint Hearing Team, Tejan Alie Kamara welcomed the move by the Commission and stated: “Many people have issues affecting them that they need justice for but they have no idea where to go and complain.”
At the conclusion of the complaint hearing, a total of eight (8) complaints were received by the HRCSL team.