By Mohamed J Kargbo
On December 10, 2022, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone commemorated the International Human Rights Day with a peace rally on the theme, ‘Human rights and election: stand up for human rights.” Staff of the commission marched from Up-Gun in the eastern part of Freetown to the Taylor Cummings Garden at cotton in Freetown.
At Taylor Cummings Garden, statements were delivered by various high personalities in the likes of commissioners, representatives of Irish Aid, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British High Commission.
Representative from the European Union, Sergio Raphael, thanked the commission for inviting the EU delegation to participate at the human right walk, stating that every year on December 10, they celebrate human rights day around the world.
He said this year, the European Union joined forces with the United Nations to commemorate the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), to reaffirm their commitment to ensure that human rights be upheld and respected everywhere in Sierra Leone and across the world.
He said that this year’s human rights day was very important because it marked the beginning of the 75 years of the declaration and that human rights have been advanced since the declaration.
Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Madam Patricia Narsu Ndanema, expressed her appreciation to the international partners and also to all other civil society organizations and staff of the commission for coming out strongly to mark the important day.
She said as a commission they have the statutory mandate to protect and promote human rights and it is also worthy to note that the enjoyment of human right is also the collective responsibility of everyone and not the sole responsibility of the commission.
She said that this year like other years, there were different themes to mark the day but that they decided to narrow it down to localize it with the theme “election to human rights: stand up for human rights.’
She said they chose the theme having looked at the point of view that next year Sierra Leone would be conducting elections.
“We know how elections are and we have the good and the bad.So, as a commission we have taken it upon ourselves to monitor the process and also ensure that human rights standards are also maintained in all electoral processes,” she said.
She called on the Government of Sierra Leone and the electoral bodies and management, all civil society organizations and the media to monitor the processes and ensure that the election comes out free and fair.