March 10, 2015 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) over the weekend inaugurated its regional office in Waterloo, in the Western Rural District.
The commission’s Chairperson, Brima A. Sheriff, said HRC-SL was established by an Act of Parliament with a broad mandate to protect and promote human rights in Sierra Leone.
He said in the implementation of their mandate, Section 20(1) of the Commission’s Act 2004 provides that the HRC-SL shall, when funds become available, establish offices in each of the provincial headquarters.
“This provision is what prompted the establishment of the four regional offices in Freetown for the West, Makeni for the North, Bo for the South and Kenema for the East in 2008, to provide regional human rights oversight,” said Mr. Sheriff. “With the exception of the Western Area, the other three offices continue to enjoy greater autonomy in complementing the work of the commission in those parts of the country.”
He described the opening of the office as unique because since 2008, the Western Area has been the only region without a distinct, separate and autonomous regional edifice.
He reaffirmed the commission’s commitment to their vision, which is a Sierra Leone where a culture of human rights prevails and the people respect the rule of law and live in peace and dignity.
Also, Commissioner Bryma Kebbie, who is in charge of regional affairs, said Waterloo was carefully identified as a perfect choice to host the regional office based on the aforementioned, and also for obvious reasons like meeting the challenges of widespread poverty, mass illiteracy, including some of the entrenched customs and traditions that impact negatively on human rights.
Statements were also made by the Headman of Oku Town community and representatives from the District Human Rights Committee, Waterloo Police Station, Waterloo District Council, and the Senior Human Rights Officer in charge of the Waterloo office, Cyphas Williams.