OCTOBER 28, 2014 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone yesterday commenced its engagement of key stakeholders on the 2013 State of the Human Rights Report which was launched last Thursday (October 23), with officials from the Sierra Leone Police, Prisons Department and the judiciary in attendance.
The essence of the engagement is for officials of these key institutions to better understand the commission’s work and relate with them on emerging human rights issues and concerns in their various institutions.
Sections 24(1) and 7(g) of the Human Rights Commission Act mandates the commission to publish an annual report on the State of Human Rights in the country.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, HRC-SL Chairperson, Brima A. Sheriff, highlighted some of the critical recommendations to the stakeholders.
He stated that for the police, the 2013 report urged them to maintain a high level of professionalism in crowd control, ensure that proportionate, legal, appropriate and necessary force is used in their operations, and to refrain from the use of live bullets in maintaining public order.
Commissioner Sheriff said the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prisons Department and Ministry of Justice were urged to facilitate the institution of a coroner’s inquest to every death occurring within prisons.
According to him, the report also urged authorities of the judiciary to provide training for court chairmen on the provisions of various laws relating to their work, and to fully implement provisions in the Local Court Act of 2011 to avoid interference by local chiefs into the work of local courts.
In his intervention, Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Crime Service, Morie Lengor, said he was satisfied with the report because it was balanced. “The report is for the SLP and the people of Sierra Leone,” he said.
The HRC-SL would further engage civil society organizations on civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, the constitutional review process, and the Freetown City Council and the Western Rural District Council on the human rights implications of the Ebola outbreak, among others.