The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone

2008

Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL)

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

List of Abbreviations ABC ACC ACHPR APC AU CEDAW CRA CSOs CTN DecSec DGTTF ECOWAS ERSG EU FBC FCC FGC FSU GOSL GLRA H.E. HDI HIV/AIDS HRCSL ICASL ICCPR ICESCR ICTJ IDA IMC IRC JSDP KNCHR MDAs MoU MPs MSWGCA Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Anti-Corruption Commission African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights All Peoples Congress African Union Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Child Rights Act Civil Society Organizations Cotton Tree News Decentralization Secretariat Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund Economic Community of West African States Executive Representative of the Secretary General European Union Fourah Bay College Freetown City Council Female Genital Cutting Family Support Unit Government of Sierra Leone German Leprosy Relief Association His Excellency Human Development Index Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sierra Leone International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights International Centre for Transitional Justice Institutional Development Advisor Independent Media Commission International Rescue Committee Justice Sector Development Programme Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Ministries, Departments and Agencies Memorandum of Understanding Members of Parliament Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs 1

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  NACE NaCSA NANHRI NCD NEC NEWMAP NGOs NHRIs OSD OSIWA PSC PWDs SDI SIDA SLAJ SLCMP SLP SLPP SLRTC SLUDI TRC U.K. UDHR UNDP UNICEF UNIOSIL UNIPSIL UN-PBF VIO National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives National Commission for Social Action Network of African National Human Rights Institutions National Commission for Democracy National Electoral Commission Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Non-Governmental Organizations National Human Rights Institutions Operation Special Division Open Society Initiative for West Africa Public Service Commission Persons with Disabilities Society for Democratic Initiatives Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Sierra Leone Association of Journalists Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Programme Sierra Leone Police Sierra Leone People’s Party Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues Truth and Reconciliation Commission United Kingdom Universal Declaration of Human Rights United Nations Development Programme United Nations Children’s Fund United Nations Integrated Offices in Sierra Leone United Nations Integrated Peace-Building Office in Sierra Leone United Nations Peace Building Fund Voter Identification Officers

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Table of Contents Contents Executive Summary …………………………………………….……………………. Key Challenges & Recommendations ………………………………………………. Chairperson’s Foreword ……………………………………………………………… Executive Secretary’s Review ………………………………………………………. Commissioners ……………………………………………………………………… Part 1: Background and Historical Context ……………………………………… Context …………………………………………………………………………..…… Bringing the Commission into Operation …………………………………………… Vision, Mission and Core Values …………………………………………………… Mandate of the HRCSL ………………………………………………………………… Part 2: Activities of HRCSL ………………………………………………………… 2.1 Responding to Complaints……………………………………………………. 2.2 Capacity Building of HRCSL ………………………………………………..... 2.2.1 HRCSL’s Administration and Finances……………………………….. 2.2.2 Regionalization………………………………………………………….. 2.3 Working with the Government of Sierra Leone……………………………. 2.4 Strategic Interactions …………………………………………………………… 2.5 Publication and Dissemination of “The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone” 2007 Report……………………………………………………… 2.6 Celebration of International Human Rights Day……………………………….. 2.7 Regional Training of Traditional Leaders on Human Rights…………………… 2.8 Workshop for Stakeholders on the Contents of the Child Rights and Gender Justice Acts, and Monitoring of their Implementation………………… 2.9 Support to the Implementation of the TRC Recommendations……………….. 2.10 Monitoring of Local Government Elections…………………………………… 2.11 Monitoring Prisons and Detention Places……………………………………… 2.12 Review of Draft Legislation…………………………………………………… 2.13 Complaints …………………………………………………………………… Handling of Complaints……………………………………………………… Summary of Some Complaints Handled ……..………………………………. Part 3: The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone ………………………………… 3.1 Promotion and Protection of Human Rights ………………………………… 3.1.1 Civil and Political Rights……………………………………………………… 3.1.1.1 Right to life, liberty, and Security of the Person, and the Death Penalty…. ……………………………………………… 3.1.1.2 Protection from Deprivation of Property …………………… 3.1.1.3 Freedom of Expression and the Press ………………………… 3.1.1.4 Freedom of Assembly/Association ………………. …………. 3.1.2 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights……………………………………… 3.1.2.1 Right to Just and Favourable Conditions of Work…………….. 3.1.2.2 Right to Education……………………………………………… Page 6 7 9 10 11 13 13 14 15 15 18 18 18 19 20 20 21 25 26 27 28 29 30 30 31 31 31 35 38 38 38 38 39 40 42 42 43 43 3

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  3.1.2.3 Right to Health………………………………………………… 3.1.2.4 Human Rights Concerns in Mining Activities………………… Women’s Rights……………………………………………………………… 3.1.3.1 Participation in Politics and Other Public Offices …………... 3.1.3.2 Violence against Women……………………………………. Children’s Rights…………………………………………………………… 3.1.4.1 Harmful Traditional Practices ………………………………. 3.1.4.2 Teenage Pregnancy and Girl Child Education …………. …. Vulnerable Groups…………………………………………………………… 3.1.5.1 Persons With Disabilities……………………………………….. 3.1.5.1.1 Access to Health………………………………………………… 3.1.5.1.2 Access to Education……………………………………………. 3.1.5.1.3 Access to Justice………………………………………………… 3.1.5.1.4 Political Participation of PWDs…………………………………. 3.1.5.1.5 Other Rights of PWDs………………………………………….. 3.1.5.2 The Aged………………………………………………………… 3.1.5.3 Sexual Orientation………………………………………………. Human Rights in the Administration of Justice…………………………… 3.1.6.1 The Sierra Leone Police ………………………………………… 3.1.6.2 The Court System……………………………………………… 3.1.6.3 The Sierra Leone Prisons………………………………………… 3.1.6.4 Juvenile Justice………………………………………………… Institutional Capacity Building for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights………………………………………………………….. Human Rights Defenders in Sierra Leone…………………………………. Important Initiatives in Furtherance of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights ………………………………………………… 3.4.1 Implementation of the TRC Recommendations………………. 44 46 47 47 48 49 49 49 50 50 50 52 52 53 53 54 54 55 55 56 58 60 63 64 64 66

3.1.3

3.1.4

3.1.5

3.1.6

3.2 3.3 3.4

Part 4: Recommendations ………………..…………………………………………… 66 4.1 Promotion and Protection of Human Rights ………………………………… 66 4.1.1 Civil and Political Rights………………………………………………………. 66 4.1.1.1 Right to life, liberty, and Security of the Person, and the Death Penalty….………………………………………………… 66 4.1.1.2 Protection from Deprivation of Property ………………………. 66 4.1.1.3 Freedom of Expression and the Press ………………………….. 67 4.1.1.4 Freedom of Assembly/Association ……………………………. 67 4.1.2 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights………………………………………. 67 4.1.2.1 Right to Education ……………………………………………… 67 4.1.2.2 Right to Health…………………………………………………… 68 4.1.2.3 Human Rights Concerns in Mining Activities…………………. 69 4.1.3 Women’s Rights………………………………………………………………… 69 4.1.4 Children’s Rights……………………………………………………………… 70 4.1.5 Vulnerable Groups……………………………………………………………… 70 4.1.5.1 Persons With Disabilities………………………………………… 70 4.1.5.1.1 Access to Health…………………………………………………… 71 4.1.5.1.2 Access to Education……………………………………………… 71 4

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  4.1.5.1.3 4.1.5.1.4 4.1.6 Access to Justice………………………………………………… Political Participation of PWDs………………………………… 71 71 72 72 72 73 73 74 74 75 75 76 77 77 85 87 91 93 94 96 97 98

Human Rights in the Administration of Justice………………………………. 4.1.6.1 The Sierra Leone Police ………………………………………… 4.1.6.2 The Court System………………………………………………… 4.1.6.3 The Sierra Leone Prisons ………………………………………… 4.1.6.4 Juvenile Justice…………………………………………………… 4.2 Institutional Capacity Building for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights …………………………………………………………… 4.3 Human Rights Defenders in Sierra Leone …………………………………… 4.4 Important Initiatives in Furtherance of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights ………………………………………………………………… 4.4.1 Implementation of the TRC Recommendations……………….. Submission Signature of Commissioners…………………………………………… Appendices …………………………………………………………………………… 1. HRCSL Act…………………………………………………………… 2. List of Staff Recruited in 2008………………………………………… 3. Speech from the Chairperson to H.E. During Working Visit in October ………………………………………………………………… 4. List of CSOs the Commission Worked With…………………………….. 5. Letter of Appreciation from Prisons Director…………………………… 6. List of Important Visitors to the Commission…………………………… 7. Sample Press Release…………………………………………………… 8. Samples of Press Clippings ……………………………………………… 9. HRCSL Budget……………………………………………………………

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Executive Summary This report, titled: “The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone -2008” presents an account of the extent to which the Government of Sierra Leone has satisfied its international, regional and domestic legal obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights in Sierra Leone in 2008. It also catalogues activities accomplished by HRCSL to protect and promote human rights in the country, as required by its statute – the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Act (Act No. 9) of 2004. The report also encapsulates achievements gained and challenges faced by HRCSL in fulfilling its mandate. The report captures the state of human rights in Sierra Leone and proffers recommendations, which if implemented, would improve on the human rights situation in the country. The report is presented in four parts: Part I of the report presents an overview of Sierra Leone as a nation and the human rights challenges that preceded the ten year conflict which started in 1991. It briefly highlights steps taken to bring the HRCSL into operation, the mandate, vision and mission statement of the Commission. Part II focuses on HRCSL’s activities. These include: responding to complaints of alleged human rights violations, institutional capacity building including staff recruitment and training, extending the work of HRCSL through regionalization of the work and human rights protection and promotion. Part III is on the “State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone.” This part of the report presents a detailed account and analysis of how human rights have been observed or violated in Sierra Leone over the past year. Part IV sets out recommendations directed at various Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs) and the international community. This report highlights significant steps taken by HRCSL to enhance its work over and above those of 2007. The successes of the Commission include: recruitment of staff and an institutional development advisor, establishment of regional offices in Bo, Kenema and Makeni, completion of a 3-year strategic plan, and intensification of investigations of human rights violations. In spite of these achievements, HRCSL continues to grapple with a number of challenges among which include limited financial resources and staff capacity in areas of research, monitoring, investigation and public education. During the year under review, HRCSL finalised its Complaint, Investigations and Inquiries Rules 2008. The Rules describe procedures for handling allegations of human rights violations. The HRCSL noted an increase in the number of complaints filed, from 40 in 2007 to 204 in 2008 that likely resulted from HRCSL’s engagement with civil society organisations, and the public, on its mandate and functions, through radio programmes. Complaints were received across the regions.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Key Challenges and Recommendations Institutional Challenges a. Government provided salaries of Commissioners and Executive Secretary and subvention of Le 107,725,000 (equivalent to US$35,908). However, this sum was inadequate to meet the full operational and programme expenses of the Commission. We therefore renew our call on the government to allocate more resources to the work of HRCSL to increase its responsiveness to the huge human rights challenges in the country. This would signal government’s commitment to compliance with the Paris Principles, the normative international instrument which urges governments to provide adequate resources to enhance the operations of national human rights institutions. The mandate to promote and protect human rights cannot be fulfilled without adequate resources. b. The HRCSL/United Nations Peace-Building Fund project finally ended in March, 2009. Although HRCSL has now formulated a strategic plan for three years effective 2009. Other than the Irish Aid grant of EU 300,000, it has not secured funding for the implementation of the plan. HRCSL earnestly calls on the international development partners, and UN agencies to give their full support to implement the strategic and operational plan. c. HRCSL opened its four regional offices and assigned one staff each to manage the office. This staff allocation to service the regional offices is inadequate and there is an urgent need to recruit additional support staff to make the services available and accessible to communities. d. It has been a challenge to retain qualified staff due to the uncompetitive conditions of service. There is need to improve incentives for staff motivation and retention. e. HRCSL is operating from rented premises which will not be cost effective to retain after the expiration of the current lease in June 2009. HRCSL therefore calls on government to take urgent steps to ensure completion of the building under construction that will be jointly occupied by HRCSL and the National Electoral Commission. Human Rights Challenges a. HRCSL is concerned that the Government of Sierra Leone has not taken tangible steps on the report submitted by the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) in the first week of January 2008. The constitutional review process provides the opportunity for the nation to address concerns raised in the TRC findings and recommendations on elimination of obnoxious and discriminatory provisions in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. The HRCSL made written submissions to the CRC highlighting human rights provisions that should be included in the amendments to the constitution. Among these is to guarantee the independence of HRCSL by making it a constitutional body. b. Substantial human rights challenges in the administration of justice, conditions of prisons and other places of detention remain critical and unaddressed.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  c. HRCSL is concerned that the Government of Sierra Leone has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Although HRCSL recognizes government’s effort in drafting the Persons with Disability Bill, 2007, it now calls on the government to ratify the Convention and enact without further delay the proposed national legislation. d. Adequate protection of the rights of women including effective and efficient response to violence against women and children continues to be elusive. e. Sierra Leone faces enormous challenges in the fulfillment and promotion of human rights (especially with regard to economic and social rights). Government should ensure the availability of comprehensive health services including drugs, ambulances, medical doctors and other health personnel in hospitals and health centers throughout the country especially for women and children. f. It is necessary that all stakeholders/actors cooperate towards achieving certain goals. Thus there is a need for a comprehensive National Human Rights Action Plan which will guide the activities of all the actors in the human rights field as well as helping in channeling support. g. The President should make good on his commitment to set up the TRC Follow-Up Committee, without any further delay. h. The Ministry of Local Government and the Decentralization Secretariat (DecSec) should intensify the training needs of chiefs, regarding their roles and responsibilities, especially with regards to the protection and promotion of human rights, and handling of land disputes. i. HRCSL is concerned about the high incidence of teenage pregnancy and high drop out rate among school girls. Government should undertake an in-depth study of the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy and all its implications, with the view to developing a comprehensive policy and strategies for its eradication.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Chairperson’s Foreword In fulfillment of its mandate, HRCSL is pleased to present the second annual report titled “State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone, 2008”. It is gratifying to note that last year, the maiden edition was appreciated all over the country and beyond. This report catalogues strides HRCSL took in meeting its targets identified in my previous foreword: recruitment of staff and an institutional development advisor, establishment of regional offices in Bo, Kenema and Makeni, completion of a 3-year strategic plan, and intensification of investigations of human rights violations. The report also highlights HRCSL’s implementation of a number of activities for the promotion and protection of human rights, in collaboration with civil society organizations, international and local Non-Governmental Organizations, the media, U.N Agencies, government, and other national institutions. Of great significance in the report is the section on the state of human rights in Sierra Leone. For this section, HRCSL engaged civil society organizations in consultative workshops from all the four regions to elicit information, data or reports from them on the human rights situation in the country. These data and reports, in addition to those gathered by HRCSL itself, were analysed and recommendations made for future action by the government. Government is urged to implement the recommendations in this report by concrete action, to improve the enjoyment of human rights, consolidate peace, good governance, and democracy in post-conflict Sierra Leone. HRCSL hopes that the contents of the report will stimulate an informed public debate whose outcome will benefit government policies and programmes. HRCSL continues to grapple with logistical challenges in sustaining the Commission’s activities, especially now that the UN Peace Building fund (PBF) has expired. Irish Aid’s support to HRCSL is a step in the right direction, but we call on Government, the U.N., donor agencies to increase their support to the Commission. Following the rotational agreement of Commissioners for the positions of Chair and Vice Chair, and the elections held at the end of December 2008, Commissioners Edward Sam and Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff were duly elected to serve in the respective offices. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate them both and pledge my support, as I continue to serve as a Commissioner in this noble institution. I also wish to sincerely thank all Commissioners, the Executive Secretary, other members of staff, and our partners who contributed in various ways to the work of HRCSL for the period under review, and the production of this report.

Jamesina King (Mrs) Chairperson

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Executive Secretary’s Review
The institutional and human resource capacity building of HRCSL progressed satisfactorily in 2008, although these strides were not without challenges. However, the zeal and vigor with which the challenges were surmounted, were not only gratifying, but also underscored the general sense of purpose and commitment by commissioners and staff to the work of HRCSL. The experiences gained, lessons learned, and difficult moments endured have all contributed to shape our thoughts and actions for the promotion and protection of human rights in Sierra Leone. It is worthy to note that in 2008, HRCSL strategically repositioned itself to better respond to the critical human rights situations in Sierra Leone. To this end, recruitment of the full complement of staff of 29 under the HRCSL/UNPBF project was completed; priority thematic human rights issues were identified, and guided the work of the Commission; regional offices in Makeni, Bo and Kenema were rented and equipped with the view to making HRCSL’s services more accessible; the three year strategic and operational plan, effective 2009 were finalized and adopted, and an Institutional Development Advisor in the person of Mr. Aliro Omara, a former commissioner of the Ugandan Human Rights Commission was contracted to provide expert technical support to HRCSL. These achievements among others, signified a marked increase in the operations, outreach, financial and human resource management of HRCSL over 2007. However, the uncompetitive conditions of service for staff remained a key challenge in 2008, and HRCSL lost a number of its staff due to the low remuneration. In spite of this, we demonstrated our commitment to build the capacity of commissioners and staff who were supported to participate in a number of training events locally as well as in international seminars and training programmes in Sweden, Switzerland, Cambodia, Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, and Togo. Due to increased staff capacity, the utilization of the HRCSL/UNPBF project funds approved in 2007 was optimized in 2008. HRCSL increased interaction with civil society organizations, conducted national training workshops for traditional leaders on human rights, and undertook a number of human rights education programmes throughout the country. The procurement of office furniture and equipment, vehicles and motorbikes all contributed to the institutional development of HRCSL. As the project ends in early 2009, we earnestly call on the government of Sierra Leone, international development partners, and UN agencies to give their full support to our strategic and operational plan. In our eventful journey of 2008, we would like to thank the government of Sierra Leone and partners, particularly UNDP and UNIPSIL, for their support. The government of Sierra Leone paid the minimal operational costs of the Commission, and the salaries of Commissioners and Executive Secretary. Furthermore, it has committed itself to pay salaries and allowances of staff, after the expiration of the HRCSL/UNPBF project. We renew our call on the government to increase its support to HRCSL, as required by the Paris Principles, the normative international instrument which guides the operations of National Human Rights Institutions. The Herculean task of the promotion and protection of human rights cannot be accomplished without adequate resources, and without the commitment of all. This is the challenge that is before us all now.

Abraham John Executive Secretary

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Commissioners Jamesina King – Chairperson Jamesina King is a lawyer and women’s rights advocate with a post graduate degree from Georgetown University Law Centre. She is also a LAWA Fellow of the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship and a former associate in a private law firm in Freetown. She has considerable experience in the promotion and protection of human rights in Sierra Leone. She is a founding member and past president of Legal Access through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (LAWYERS) – an organization of female lawyers in Sierra Leone dedicated to enhancing women’s access to justice. The election of Jamesina King as Chairperson brings to the HRCSL astute leadership and good judgment with a strong passion for human rights issues. Over the years, she has built a reputation on the national and international scene for direct and forthrightness in her challenge of human rights violations – a quality which the HRCSL would require to achieve the level of success aspired to. Edward Sam – Vice Chairperson Edward Sam was a former Commissioner in the now separated National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights (NCDHR) in Sierra Leone where he was focal person for human rights, civil society and media relations. He is a holder of a Master of Arts degree in Adult Education from the University of Ghana and a Diploma in Transitional Justice from the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa. Edward Sam has vast experience in human rights, transitional justice and conflict management. Of particular significance to the work of the HRCSL, is his expertise in various capacity building and awareness raising methodologies as well as the production of Information, Education and Communication materials. Yasmin Jusu -Sheriff – Commissioner Recognized as a human rights and gender activist, Yasmin Jusu-Sheriff is a lawyer and human rights advocate with post graduate degree in Human Rights Law from London University, U.K. Her experience cuts across both national and regional initiatives geared towards promoting fundamental freedoms and gender equality. Her contribution to peace building and women’s empowerment include among others service as Executive Secretary, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone, Sub-regional President and head of Sierra Leone Chapter, Mano River Women’s Peace Network (MARWOPNET) and Coordinator, Network for the Promotion of African Principles of Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation (REPARCOR). She brought to the HRCSL strong organizing and facilitation skills as well as a deep knowledge of national and international human rights and gender issues.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Joseph F. Stanley – Commissioner Joseph Stanley is a lawyer and holds a Master of Arts Degree from the University of Exeter, UK. He is a retired Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police. He also worked for several years as volunteer advice worker at the Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK where after several training courses and conferences on human rights, was transformed into an ardent human rights advocate. He has a wealth of experience gained in assisting and enabling people of all types and ages to sort out a variety of problems endemic to those who are aged, unemployed, disadvantage and poor. This experience, in addition to that gained in the police service, makes him an invaluable member of the HRCSL. Moses Khanu – Commissioner Moses Khanu is a cleric of the Baptist Convention. He holds Post Graduate Diplomas from the Academy of Missions, Hamburg, Germany and the Ecumenical Institute, Geneva. He is also a candidate for an M.Phil Degree of the University of Sierra Leone. His illustrious career which spans over 30 years has taken him to the presidency of both the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL) and the Evangelical Fellowship Sierra Leone (EFSL), the General Secretary of the Baptist Convention in Sierra Leone, and Co-Chairman of the InterReligious Council of Sierra Leone. He brings to the HRCSL his skills in mediation, having participated in the Lomé Peace negotiations, and an in depth knowledge of the diverse religions in Sierra Leone which are required capacities to foster reconciliation, interfaith dialogue and co-operation. Abraham John – Executive Secretary Abraham John is the Executive Secretary of the HRCSL. He holds an MA in Peace and Development Studies and an M.Phil. in Political Science. He is one of the founding members of the National Forum for Human Rights, an umbrella organisation of Human Rights Defenders in Sierra Leone. Abraham has written and presented papers on elections, civil society, and corruption. His latest paper on corruption, poverty and social inequality in the Mano River Union states was presented in a conference hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) in 2008, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Part I: Background and Historical Context
1.1 Context The Republic of Sierra Leone covers an area of 71,927 sq. km, on the west coast of Africa, bordered on the north west and the north east by the Republic of Guinea, on the south east by the Republic of Liberia, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of a hilly western peninsula, and a hinterland rich in diverse natural resources, including agricultural and mineral resources. Because of its extended coastline, lush scenery and tropical climate which is some 250 miles long. The country has great potential to become an attractive tourist haven. In 1808, Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, became a British Crown Colony, and in 1896, the interior of the country became a British Protectorate. The country gained independence from the British in 1961. According to the 2004 census results, the country has 18 ethnic groups and a population of 4,976,871 (With an annual growth rate of 1.8%), 60% of which are Muslims, 30% Christians, and 10% practice indigenous religions. Sierra Leone ranked lowest on the UNDP Human Development index (2007/2008). The country conducted presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007, and local government elections in 2008. In spite of few isolated cases of violence, these were internationally acknowledged as credible and peaceful. The outcome of such elections has marked a smooth democratic transition from one government to the other. Even before the commencement of the civil war in 1991, the country experienced serious and gross human rights violations. Sierra Leoneans had been stripped of their basic rights and dignity; free political expression and the rule of law were elusive, the citizens were deprived of their rights to a fair trial, there was a dearth of educational opportunities for the young, and a host of other ills plagued the nation. In short, bad governance, endemic corruption, and the denial of human rights, coupled with their attendant consequences, provided the perfect recipe for serious conflict - the country was on the brink of violence, and the nation then plunged into 11 years of war, during which an estimated 50,000 people were killed, and over one million displaced or forced to leave the country as refugees. The unprecedented brutality of the Sierra Leone war was a manifestation of the denial of Sierra Leoneans of their human dignity; this then was a clear justification for the need for building a human rights culture in country. The establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (the HRCSL) was provided for in the Lome Peace Agreement of 1999, and was also recommended in the 2004 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report. The Commission was finally established by an Act of Parliament (Act. No. 9) to protect and promote human rights in Sierra Leone. It was in December 2006 when the Commissioners were sworn into office. The Commission is a National Human Rights Institution that fulfils the standards set by the UN Paris Principles governing such institutions. The Commissioners, five in number, were appointed through a transparent and participatory process that commenced in 2005 with a call for applications for the post of Commissioner. Short listed applicants were interviewed by a selection panel comprising 6 representatives of civil society interest groups, and 1 representative of the government. The Selection Panel submitted a list of 7 candidates to the President, who then selected 5 nominees whose names were gazetted

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  for public scrutiny and review. In October 2006, the 5 nominees were approved by Parliament, and thereafter took an Oath of Office before the President, on 11th December, 2006. As required by law, the Commission is to submit an annual report of its work to the President and the Parliament, entitled “The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone”, detailing the ways in which the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Constitution, and in the International and Regional Agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party, have been observed or violated. It should also contain the steps taken by the HRCSL to promote respect, protect and fulfill human rights, including results of individual complaints investigated, interventions, and recommendations made by the HRCSL. 1.2 Bringing The Commission into Operation Right at the beginning, the Commissioners decided to adopt an innovative approach by electing their Chair and Vice-Chair to serve for a maximum period of two years, before the offices are rotated. They then went on to recruit an Executive Secretary as a priority, before setting out to rent permanent offices, and acquiring furniture and equipment. On 10th December, 2007 (International Human Rights Day), the official opening ceremony of the HRCSL’s offices at 37, Wellington Street, was graced by the Vice-President of Sierra Leone, Chief Sam Sumana, and other dignitaries. Since then, the government has decided that the HRCSL is to occupy a portion of the proposed office building for the National Electoral Commission at Tower Hill, the construction of which commenced in May 2007, still ongoing, but expected to be completed soon. In its first year, HRCSL took steps to access government allocation for the HRCSL, opened bank accounts, and engaged the Parliament and the Executive to settle the outstanding issues of emoluments for commission members and staff. Commissioners prepared project proposals and work plans, developed a staff organogram identifying the various staff positions required, and set out detailed job descriptions and eligibility criteria for applicants. In 2007, the Commission received subvention from the Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL), amounting to Le76,500,000.00, and was allocated a grant from the UNDP DGTTF to the tune of US$175,000. The amount of US$ 1,522, 055.70 was approved by the UN Peace Building Fund, and was administered by the UNDP in a one year project (commencing July 2007), as catalytic funding to facilitate the establishment and the functioning of the Commission. The Commission became fully operational in 2008 (the year under review), with government subvention increased to Le 133,000,000, (of which only Le 107,000,000 was actually received) and was used for core operational support. The HRCSL conducted its programs, mostly with the monies received from the UN PBF. Additional staff were hired, and three regional offices rented and furnished.
Figure 1. The headquarters of the HRCSL at Wellington Street.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  1.3 Vision, Mission and Core Values

Vision: A Sierra Leone where a culture of human rights prevails and the people respect the rule of law and live in peace and dignity. Mission: The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone exists to take the lead role in building a culture of human rights (including respect for individual responsibilities) which maintains human dignity for all in Sierra Leone in full compliance with the Constitution, laws, international and regional instruments through effective partnership and collaboration. Core Values As an Independent Human Rights Institution, the HRCSL is committed to upholding these core values: Professionalism encompassing discipline, competence, dependability, integrity, expertise, team spirit, tactfulness Service Independence Inclusiveness Accessibility Accountability Collaboration with humility including fairness, objectivity, impartiality ensuring diversity covering empathy, tolerance, understanding embracing honesty

1.4 Mandate of the HRCSL Section 7 of the Human Rights Commission Act of 2004 1 stipulates that the main objective for the establishment of the HRCSL is to promote and protect human rights in Sierra Leone, and states the following as the functions of the Commission: Investigate or inquire into complaints of human rights violations; Promote the respect for human rights through public awareness & education programs; Publish guidelines, manuals & other materials explaining the human rights obligations of public officials and others;
1

See appendix to this report

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Cooperate with institutions including public interest bodies, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international organizations, working in the field of human rights; Review existing legislation & advise the government concerning its compliance with international obligations; Monitor draft legislation, policies, programs and administrative practices to ensure human rights compliance; Advise & support government in the preparation of reports under international human rights instruments or treaties; Monitor and document violations of human rights in Sierra Leone; Publish an annual report on the State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone; Independence Section 14 of the Act guarantees the independence of the HRCSL, and states that the HRCSL is independent, and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person, authority, or government, even if such person, authority, or government, provides financial or material support to the Commission. Jurisdiction Under Sections 1 and 7 of the Act, the HRCSL has the mandate to address all rights guaranteed by the Constitution, or embodied in all international agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party. However, Section 16 of the Act stipulates that HRCSL cannot investigate any matter pending, or already decided by a court of competent jurisdiction or any human rights violation that occurred before 26th August 2004. Relationship with the Courts The HRCSL is not a substitute for the courts. It can refer to the High Court for contempt any person who refuses, without justifiable cause, to comply with a decision, direction, or order within a specified time. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the HRCSL may appeal to the Supreme Court. The HRCSL has power to intervene in legal proceedings involving any human rights issue by issuing amicus curiae briefs.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Funding The activities of the HRCSL are financed by moneys appropriated by Parliament, and by gifts, grants, or donations from any person or authority, provided that such donations are not likely to compromise the independence of the HRCSL.

Powers of the HRCSL Section 8 of the Act provides powers to enable the Commission to effectively carry out its functions including making rules of procedure for the conduct of its investigations. For the purposes of any investigation, the HRCSL shall have such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court or a judge in a trial to: enforce the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, compel the production of documents, issue a commission or request to examine witnesses abroad.

The HRCSL also has the power to issue or make orders or directions to enforce its decisions, including measures to protect the life and safety of an individual and free medical treatment where necessary. It has powers to recommend: payment of compensation to victims of human rights violations, their families or legal representatives, provision of financial assistance, including legal aid to indigent citizens who are victims of human rights violations, release of any person unlawfully detained or restricted. The HRCSL has access to all government offices, facilities, and places of detention, including prisons, police cells, remand homes and probation facilities (when they are established) as well as to any non-classified information in government documents.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Part 2: Activities of the Commission
2.1 Responding to Complaints
As a result of its human rights education programmes, the complaints handling function is one of the best known aspects of HRCSL’s work and 2008 saw an increase in complaints filed and handled. Complaints handling policies and procedures were finalised and put in place, with Commissioners and staff receiving appropriate training to implement this function. HRCSL also provided technical support and advice to complainants, including referrals to the appropriate institutions to handle the complaints, and monitored their progress. The mysterious death of 18-year old Alima Sheriff Kamara, in Kenema, on 23rd October, 2007, and widespread suspicion over the handling of its investigation by the police, sparked off public protests and disturbances in both Freetown and Kenema, against the Lebanese community, one of whose nationals was suspected of involvement in the tragedy. In response to complaints from concerned citizens in Kenema and the parents of the deceased, as well as the public unrest, HRCSL conducted an initial preliminary investigation, findings of which were publicized along with an appeal for restraint by the public. At the close of the inquest, the finding was that the girl had died from natural causes, an outcome that was accepted by all concerned.

2.2

Capacity Building of HRCSL

• Staff recruitment The main capacity building priority of the HRCSL in 2008 was recruitment of staff, which was made possible through the UN PBF project. Over 800 applications were received and processed by a Management Consultant hired by the HRCSL. The interview process was undertaken by HRCSL, in collaboration with representatives from UNIOSIL, UNDP, NEC, the PSC, the SLRTC, and ICASL. Twenty nine professional and support staff were employed in February, April, and June 2008 (a list of staff members recruited is set out in appendix 2). Unfortunately, HRCSL was unable, for a number of reasons, to retain all the staff recruited, five of whom have left HRCSL. Resources from the HRCSL/UN PBF project were utilized to provide the new staff with necessary equipment and logistics to carry out their work. • Training HRCSL’s new staff were immediately provided with five days induction training, conducted by Commissioners and local partners, at HRCSL headquarters. This was reinforced by a further one-week training organized in collaboration with UNIOSIL and UNDP. During the course of the year, Commissioners and staff were further exposed to a number of training / capacity building sessions on: Treaty Body Reporting by UNIOSIL, GoSL and HRCSL, Monitoring and Investigations by Amnesty International, Domesticating International Human Rights Treaties by Justice Bankole Thompson, Human Rights Approach to Detention Management by Prison Watch

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  in collaboration with HRCSL. The Legacy Project of the Special Court for Sierra Leone also provided trained a number of staff with training on Investigation and Records Management. Towards the end of the year, all HRCSL staff underwent a comprehensive training on the new HRCSL rules and procedures for handling complaints, conducted by the IDA, as well as a three-day management training for Commissioners and staff.

• International Training Two Commissioners and three members of staff benefited from international training programmes in Sweden, Egypt, Ghana and the U.K, on various human rights disciplines organized by SIDA, Government of Egypt, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, and the U.K Foreign and Commonwealth Office, respectively. • Conferences Participation by HRCSL’s Commissioners and staff at a number of national and international conferences also contributed to capacity building. Themes addressed included: review of national legislation and the model law on HIV / AIDS; Access to justice; Optional Protocol to the Convention of Torture; Access and right to land, reparations, slavery and racism, women’s rights, and addressing national disability issues.

2.2.1 HRCSL’s Administration and Finances
In the year under review, HRCSL operated in a dynamic and challenging environment that necessitated review of the organogram and re-deployment of staff to ensure efficient use of limited human and financial resources. HRCSL’s institutional capacity was further strengthened by the development and adoption of a number of policies on human resources, finance, transport, internship, and codes of conduct for Commissioners and staff, to guide its operations. A year-long participatory process culminated in the production of a three-year strategic plan that sets out strategic goals, objectives and activities, as well as detailed work plans and budgets. HRCSL/UN PBF project resources were utilized to recruit one Institutional Development Advisor (IDA). During the course of the year, funding for HRCSL programmes remained a challenge, as only Le 107,725,000 of the 2008 government subvention was actually received, which barely covered minimum operational costs.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Unfortunately, none of the several funding proposals submitted by HRCSL to development partners was supported in 2008. The majority of HRCSL’s programmatic activities for 2008 were simply implementation of the one-off UN PBF catalytic funding granted in 2007. The Irish Aid provided 300, 000 Euros, through UNDP, for HRCSL. This was initially understood to be seed money for the establishment of a ‘basket fund’ for HRCSL, and remained unutilized, while the Strategic Planning process was ongoing. HRCSL plans to make effective use of this money in 2009, in accordance with its strategic plan. During HRCSL’s visits to diplomatic missions, it received a donation of Le150,000.00 (one hundred and fifty thousand Leones) from the Egyptian Ambassador. This amount was utilized to purchase fuel for HRCSL’s headquarters’ generator.

2.2.2 Regionalization
In fulfillment of its statutory obligation set out in Section 20 of the HRCSL Act 2004, HRCSL took steps to establish in each of the three provincial headquarter towns and the Western Area, offices that would deliver HRCSL’s services to the communities. HRCSL, with the assistance of its IDA, developed a Regionalization Policy. Four human rights officers were assigned to the regional offices located at 1 Old Railway Line, Bo, 30A Wallace Johnson Street, Makeni, 69 Blama Road, Kenema, and 37 Wellington Street, Freetown. During the course of the year, furniture and equipment were transferred to the various locations, and the regional human rights officers periodically carried out their duties in the regions, and established contact with the District Human Rights Committees, other civil society organizations, and community-based groups. February 2009 saw permanent deployment of regional human rights officers to their areas of responsibility, and the official opening of the regional offices. To ensure the proper functioning of the regional offices, HRCSL has embarked on a process of recruiting additional staff by advertising vacancies in local newspapers and on radio. The regional human rights officers continue to receive training that is intended to make them effective in serving their communities and managing the regional offices, which HRCSL considers vital to the fulfillment of its mandate.

2.3

Working with the Government of Sierra Leone

Building on the practice of the previous year, HRCSL, paid a working visit to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, on 17th October 2008, on specific issues: • Non-establishment of the TRC Follow-Up Committee by the Government of Sierra Leone. • Review of the NaCSA led Reparations Programme for victims of the armed conflict. • Human rights dimensions of the alleged ‘cocaine trafficking’ incident • Situation of women, namely women’s safety and security issues • Sustainability of HRCSL after the completion of the HRCSL/UN PBF project. • Need for the adoption of the human rights-based approach to economic development. • Government’s participation in International Human Rights Day celebrations nationwide. 20

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  In response, H.E. scheduled and chaired a subsequent meeting on 14th November, at which all relevant Ministers and Heads of MDAs participated in an open and frank interactive session with HRCSL, during which a number of recommendations and decisions were taken in order to address the issues HRCSL had raised (for the text of the Chair’s statement, see appendix 3). HRCSL continued to enjoy co-operation and support from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, particularly in relation to the ministry’s active participation in the implementation of the HRCSL/UN PBF project. However, although the Budget Oversight Committee recommended a substantial increase in HRCSL’s subvention from the government for 2009, the final figure allocated by the Ministry of Finance was much lower, and hardly covered the core operational costs of HRCSL. HRCSL collaborated with the following government Ministries, Departments and Agencies on several human rights issues: Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWCGA), Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, Justice Sector Coordinating Office (JSCO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Guma Valley Water Company, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Prisons Department, the Family Support Unit (FSU) of the Sierra Leone Police, and the Fire Force.

2.4. Strategic Interactions
• Engagement with Parliament In early 2008, Commissioners and the Executive Secretary appeared before the Finance Committee of Parliament to defend the allocation made by the Government of Sierra Leone to HRCSL, and to provide further details on the utilization of funds under the HRCSL/UN PBF project. In May, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Hon. Elizabeth A. Lavalie, joined HRCSL and partners at a meeting in Bo, to draft its strategic plan. In compliance with HRCSL the maiden ‘State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone, 2007’ report, was presented to the Speaker of Parliament, and printed copies distributed to all Parliamentarians. Parliament was unable to debate HRCSL’s annual report in 2008, due to the crowded parliamentary calendar. HRCSL facilitated a session of the seminar on ‘Transitional Justice and Peace building’ organized in Parliament by ICTJ and SLCMP, to sensitize Parliamentarians on the UN Peace Building Commission, and on substantive transitional justice issues in the Cooperation Framework. HRCSL also made a presentation during a one-day seminar on the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women, organized by Network of Women Ministers and Parliamentarians (NEWMAP) for MPs. Similarly, HRCSL acted as resource person during Society for Democratic Initiatives’ workshop on ‘Freedom of Information’ for Members of Parliament in June.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  • Engagement with Other Commissions HRCSL’s interaction with sister commissions resulted in successful collaboration on a number of activities: Independent Media Commission (IMC) – developed competition guidelines for selecting the best published human rights entries, and participated in the selection process for the annual IMC - Zain Media Awards ceremony for excellence in reporting. National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) – HRCSL presented the report of the National Consultative Conference on the Status of Implementation of TRC Recommendations to the Commissioner of NaCSA, and also discussed progress in the implementation of the Reparations Programme; National Electoral Commission (NEC) - HRCSL’s Commissioners and staff participated in meetings and discussions on proposed collaborative activities and NEC-led retreat to develop programme funding proposals for 2009- 2010. National Commission For Democracy (NCD) – participated in NCD’s television programme on the TRC recommendations, and the NCD ‘Moral Guarantors Initiative’; Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) – joint nationwide celebrations of 2008 ‘World Anti-corruption Day’ and ‘International Human Rights Day’. HRCSL also facilitated a session on human rights training in the investigation of anti-corruption cases. HRCSL also chaired the launching of the Anti-Corruption Strategy document. • Collaboration with Civil Society Organisations During 2008, HRCSL responded positively to invitations from a variety of CSOs (almost all Freetown-based), to take part in their activities such as radio programmes, acting as trainers and resource persons, and providing IEC materials (appendix4 lists the CSOs that requested HRCSL’s participation in their programmes). At the same time, CSOs across the country took part in, supported, and even co-organised HRCSL’s public education and training activities. HRCSL was particularly appreciative of CSOs’ input in the strategic planning process, the HRCSL/UN PBF project mid-term review, and various other consultations.

Partners from UNIOSIL and CSOs Working Together with Commissioners and staff at the Strategic Planning Meeting in Bo

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

• Collaboration with Other Partners The 2007 collaboration between HRCSL and the International Rescue Committee (the IRC), an international non-governmental organization, continued with joint action, along with the MSWGCA and other stakeholders to develop a roll-out plan for the implementation of the ‘Gender Justice Laws’. This partnership was consolidated in June 2008, by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, whereby an international intern, recruited by the IRC, would work alongside HRCSL’s Women & Children’s Officer, to develop and eventually implement a detailed framework and tools for monitoring the implementation of the three ‘Gender Justice’ statutes passed in 2007. HRCSL signed an MoU with the Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP) to develop a training manual for Local Courts on human rights, local court procedures, and records management. This initiative was taken in a bid to address the widespread allegations of human rights abuses in the administration of justice in the local courts. HRCSL intends to expand collaboration and networking with national and international CSOs through participation in conferences, workshops and joint implementation of programmes. • Strategic Interaction with NHRIs In its drive to build effective partnerships and learn through experience sharing, HRCSL participated in the ninth international conference of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) held in Nairobi, Kenya in October 2008, on the theme ‘National Human Rights Institutions and the Administration of Justice’, and other related side meetings. Commissioners and staff members of HRCSL attended various regional and sub-regional meetings aimed at building networks and increasing the effectiveness of NHRIs in both West Africa and across the continent, organized by Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI), ECOWAS Commission and Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA), respectively. HRCSL honored an invitation from the Scottish Human Rights Commission and visited its offices in Glasgow. As part of HRCSL’s contribution towards the establishment of a national human rights institution in Liberia, an HRCSL Commissioner made a presentation in Liberia, on ‘The Establishment of the Human Rights Commission in Sierra Leone: Challenges and the Role of Civil Society’, to key stakeholders at a conference organized by ICTJ (Liberia). • Technical Cooperation UNIOSIL (later known as UNIPSIL) and UNDP continued to provide support to almost every aspect of the work of HRCSL. Of particular significance was their participation in the ‘tripartite mechanism’ and Steering Committee for the implementation of the HRCSL /UN PBF project. Throughout the year, UNIOSIL worked with HRCSL and UNDP to refine and strengthen the tripartite mechanism. One concrete outcome of the co-operation with UNIOSIL / UNDP was the successful mid-term review of HRCSL / UN PBF project in March 2008, which brought together GoSL, the UN country team, international community representatives, and national and international CSOs.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Commissioner Lawrence Mute, together with James Mwanga of the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR), contributed substantially to the HRCSL strategic planning process by co-facilitating the Strategic Planning workshop held in Bo. UNICEF Sierra Leone supported a member of HRCSL to attend the presentation of the Sierra Leone Country Report to the 48th Plenary Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The current ERSG and Head of the UN country team, Michael von der Schulenburg, visited HRCSL’s headquarters in July and held substantive discussions with Commissioners and staff on the human rights situation in Sierra Leone. The German Ambassador, EC delegation, staff and students from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, as well as officials of the American Embassy were also important visitors to HRCSL in 2008. HRCSL also had a working lunch with representatives of the EU countries in Sierra Leone and had meetings with the Country Representative of Irish Aid, Grainne O’Neal. UNICEF Sierra Leone supported a member of HRCSL to attend the presentation of the Sierra Leone Country Report to the 48th Plenary Session of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. • Media Relations Recognizing the role of the media in the protection and promotion of human rights, HRCSL visited several media houses, in order to establish a working relationship with them. As a result, HRCSL’s activities, public education programmes, press conferences and releases were extensively covered in the print and electronic media, thereby raising HRCSL’s visibility nationwide. HRCSL has contributed substantially, and on a regular basis, to “Focus on Human Rights Nar Salone”, a popular human rights education programme broadcast weekly on Radio Mount Aureol, 107.3 FM. In addition to the airtime provided to HRCSL by Cotton Tree News (CTN), for topical human rights issues, HRCSL Commissioners and staff were regular guest panelists on the ‘Insai Salone’ program.

Commissioners addressing the press at a press conference

HRCSL officers on “Focus on Human Rights Nar Salone” radio program.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

2.5 Publication and Dissemination of “The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone” 2007 Report
In fulfillment of its statutory mandate set out in Section 24 of the HRCSL Act No. 9 of 2004, one of the major accomplishments of HRCSL in 2008, was the production of its maiden annual ‘State of Human Rights’ 2007 report. The report writing process involved analysis of information collected by HRCSL in its first year of operations, and was challenging because it required extensive research data that was not easily accessible or even available. On 26th June 2008, HRCSL presented this maiden report to the President and the Speaker of Parliament. In receiving the report, the President assured HRCSL that his government attached: “… great importance to this Commission and whatever it takes from us as a government to guarantee its success we will do…we believe we would do what we should to sustain the success story that you have already started.” The report was subsequently launched in all four regions and made available to the general public in August 2008. The ceremonies attracted representatives from government, other MDAs, civil society, the international community and ordinary citizens from all walks of life. Copies and excerpts from the report were widely disseminated. A few copies of the report were also published in Braille.

Launching of the State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone, 2007 report

Cross section of audience at Kroo Bay

Minister of Presidential Affairs about to launch SOHR at Kroo Bay

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

The launching ceremony in Moyamba

2.6

Celebration of International Human Rights Day

Activities ranging from public debates, drama performances, vigils, radio discussion programmes, town hall meetings, to march pasts in some of the remoter parts of the country, and in the capital city, Freetown, were undertaken to celebrate International Human Rights Day (10th December). This date also marked the second anniversary of HRCSL’s operations. HRCSL Commissioners and staff were all fully involved in these celebrations, the objectives were to: • Publicize the HRCSL and its work around the country and encourage public participation in the work of, and collaboration with, HRCSL. • Initiate and stimulate public debate on the human rights issues raised by the themes of the celebration. • Undertake public education on human rights and anti-corruption issues. • Strengthen collaboration and partnership with the UN Country team, ACC, civil society and other HRCSL partners around the country and so build HRCSL’s capacity to respond to human rights issues. • Visit and introduce HRCSL in areas that HRCSL had not visited before and to reach out to marginalized communities. • Identify new possible partners for HRCSL and new avenues for possible interventions by HRCSL. • Collect information on the human rights situation in various locations for possible inclusion in HRCSL’s annual report and for use in future programs and campaigns. Joint activities organised by HRCSL with ACC, the UN Country team and civil society organizations were enthusiastically supported in communities in which they were held. HRCSL and ACC celebrations focused on the theme: “How Corruption Affects the Enjoyment of Human Rights in Sierra Leone” for activities on 9th December (World Anti-Corruption Day) and 10th December at various locations in all four regions (Fintonia in Thambaka Chiefdom, Bombali District and in Bonthe Island where Minister Alimamy P. Koroma deputized H.E the President. Celebrations were also held in the southern region, Koidu town in Kono District, and Freetown).

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

A march past procession by students

HRCSL also collaborated with the UN Country team and civil society organizations in various activities in the Western Area, commemorating 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), with the theme “Dignity and Justice for All of Us” on 10th December. The celebration in Freetown with the UN Country Team and civil society organizations was capped by a full program in the halls of Parliament, attended by top government officials and members of the diplomatic corps.

International Human Rights Day Celebration School Quiz Competition – teachers from participating schools in the East receiving prizes.

Persons with Disabilities at Int. H/Rights Day Celebrations at the House of Parliament.

2.7

Regional Training of Traditional Leaders on Human Rights

In July, HRCSL organized four two-day ‘Training of Trainers’ workshops for traditional leaders in Bo, Kenema, Makeni and Freetown, with over 30 participants at each workshop. These workshops attracted senior police officers, district councilors, and civil society representatives, as well as paramount chiefs and chiefdom speakers. The objectives of the training were to build the capacity of traditional leaders to use human rights-based approaches in dealing with their subjects; to build partnership between HRCSL and the traditional leaders for effective service delivery by HRCSL at the chiefdom level. It was hoped that these leaders would replicate the training to key leaders on human rights-related issues. Topics covered included: the Sierra Leone human rights architecture, role and mandate of the HRCSL, and women and children’s rights. 27

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 
Training of Traditional Leaders

The Regional Officer, East facilitating a session

Participants in Makeni receiving certificates

2.8

Workshop for Stakeholders on the Contents of the Child Rights Act and Gender Justice Laws, and Monitoring of their Implementation.

In October, HRCSL, with technical support from UNIOSIL, organized a two-day training for human rights defenders on the contents of the ‘Gender Justice’ laws and Child Rights Act and monitoring their implementation. The training attracted members of civil society organizations whose mandate focus on the welfare of women and children, and members of the Human Rights Committees in the 14 districts in the country. The training was geared towards: • Building the capacity of CSOs for joint monitoring and reporting on the ‘Gender Justice’ and Child Rights Acts. • Developing collaboration with CSOs as focal points in human rights monitoring and reporting, especially at district levels • Understanding the operations and mandate of HRCSL for collaborative monitoring of human rights in Sierra Leone. Most of the presentations were done by staff of HRCSL, with a few done by a staff member from UNIOSIL. During the training, participants were given copies of all the “Gender Justice” laws, and the Child Rights Act.

Participant and HRCSL facilitator during training

2.9

Support to the Implementation of the TRC Recommendations

Although not formally appointed to serve in this role, HRCSL has, since its inception, played the role of the Follow-Up Committee for implementation of the TRC recommendations, and has been working assiduously, engaging government and civil society to ensure implementation. In 28

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  June, the Commission recruited a Truth and Reconciliation Liaison Officer whose responsibilities include working closely with government ministries, departments, and agencies, in monitoring implementation of the TRC recommendations. One outcome of the Consultative Conference held in November 2007 was that the conference report and UNIOSIL’s matrix on the Status of Implementation of the TRC recommendations should be presented to the President, which was done in August 2008. In making the presentation, HRCSL expressed concern that a good number of the TRC recommendations were yet to be implemented, and that the few that government had already implemented were not acknowledged to be linked to the TRC report recommendations. HRCSL also acknowledged the need for greater dissemination of the TRC report, and requested assistance from the Office of the President to produce more copies of the report, noting that knowledge and understanding of its content would greatly enhance effective participation of citizens in the governance of the country. While taking note of the progress made so far in the area of reparations, HRCSL also urged the President to expedite formal establishment of the Follow-Up Committee. HRCSL’s working visits to the President in October and November, again centred on the setting up of the TRC Follow-Up Committee, and the priorities of the reparation package developed by NaCSA. During the training of traditional leaders in July, presentations on the TRC Findings and Recommendations were made, and the TRC film documentary ‘Witnes Tru’ was screened. Majority of the participants reported that they had never watched the documentary or been briefed on the TRC report. HRCSL also conducted a series of programmes on the TRC findings and recommendations through community radio stations. • Archiving TRC Documents and Materials In November, HRCSL contracted the services of a consultant to undertake the technical processing and archiving of all the TRC documents and materials in its custody. It is expected that at the end, the non-confidential materials in the archives would be made available for research purposes. HRCSL initiated discussions with a consultant at Benetech (the firm that undertook the initial processing of the TRC database), for the transfer of that database to HRCSL. Before this could be done however, HRCSL needs to secure funds for the transfer of the said data into its custody. Access to this database and all TRC documents will be regulated within the parameters set out in the TRC report. • The TRC National Vision HRCSL continues to promote the Vision which represents hopes and aspirations of Sierra Leoneans. Although HRCSL was not able to take the Vision on tours, as recommended by the TRC, some of the exhibits and contributions have been hung up along the corridors and various offices of its headquarters, and were put on display at workshops and training sessions organised by HRCSL. An urgent priority of HRCSL is to raise funds to preserve these materials and make them accessible to the public. 29

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

2.10

Monitoring of Local Government Elections

In the year under review, HRCSL monitored the observance of human rights in the local government elections. Overall, though the voter turn-out was low, and despite isolated violent incidents, polling day itself was calm and the election considered to be generally credible. However, HRCSL’s attention was drawn to a number of allegations in the media, of politicallymotivated violence, intimidation of voters and candidates, and interference with the election campaign of opponents. HRCSL was of the view that to ensure protection of human rights, such reports required careful investigation and monitoring, and where necessary, engagement with relevant stakeholders. HRCSL spent four days monitoring the elections - from 4th - 7th June. This was done by its four regional officers, who each monitored the elections in their respective regions, and also by the Chair and Vice-Chair. In addition to pre-election day monitoring exercises, HRCSL officials visited several polling centers in the four regions, and talked with National Electoral Commission (NEC) personnel, including the Presiding Officers/Station Managers, Voter Identification Officers (VIO), the Ballot Paper Issuers and the Ballot Box Controllers. HRCSL officials spent time in polling stations while the voting was going on, and in the counting centers, when the votes were being tallied, observing the process. In addition, they also had discussions with representatives of the different political parties, as well as with ordinary voters HRCSL’s monitoring confirmed that the pre-voting period was marred by instances of intimidation and violence in parts of Kono District, particularly targeted at female candidates. In the immediate run-up to polling day, HRCSL met with Vice-President Sam Sumana, to acquaint him with the findings on the level of violence in Kono, and obtained his assurance that he would contribute to ensuring a peaceful and non-violent polling day.

2.11

Monitoring Prisons and Detention Places

Even though HRCSL regional officers visited prisons in their regions, much of the Commission’s prisons monitoring activities in 2008 were directed at the Pademba Road Prisons, with several monitoring visits paid during the course of the year by teams of Commissioners and Human Rights Officers. This was because a number of issues arose within the prisons, namely, acute shortage of water, prisoners unrest, suspension of prisoners’ rights and privileges, and increased security due to remand of cocaine suspects. These challenges required HRCSL’s attention and eventual intervention. Following up on its own monitoring and reports from Prison Watch, HRCSL met with the Director of Prisons and other senior managers, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Minister of Energy and Power, the Judiciary, and other stakeholders and successfully addressed issues highlighted

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  above. 2 HRCSL also had to deal with barriers it encountered in carrying out its monitoring functions. It also witnessed the donation of items for female prisoners at Pademba Road Prisons by Prison Watch, and the Christmas cultural event and visit to the female section by the First Lady of Sierra Leone. HRCSL conducted other inspection visits at Kingtom Remand home, Congo Cross Police cells, lock-up at the Law Court building, and attended the opening of the new female prison in Kenema. In furtherance of its monitoring efforts, HRCSL undertook, with Prison Watch, monitoring training for its staff and Detention Management training for Prison officials.

2.12

Review of Draft Legislation

In December, HRCSL organized a one-day review of the draft Disability Bill. The aim of the review process was to ensure that the provisions in the bill were in line with the human rights principles of upholding the dignity and respect of Persons with Disabilities, and in accordance with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The program was attended by twenty –eight participants from organizations concerned with disabilities, representatives from line ministries, an MP, members of the Fourth Estate, and HRCSL’s IDA from Uganda. The recommendations from the review process were sent to the Office of the Attorney General for onward submission to Parliament for enactment.

2.13

Complaints

Handling of Complaints Here, emphasis is on complaints handled by HRCSL in 2008, in fulfilment of Section 7 (2) (a) of HRCSL Act No. 9 of 2004, which provides that HRCSL has the mandate to “investigate or inquire into on its own or on complaint by any person any allegations of human rights violations and to report thereon in writing”. In exercise of its mandate to protect human rights, the HRCSL finalised its Complaint, Investigations and Inquiries Rules 2008, which were gazetted as a statutory instrument, through technical support from the Law Officers Department in the Ministry of Justice. These rules clearly set out the procedures for handling allegations of human rights violations. During the year under review, HRCSL received and successfully handled a number of complaints. For instance, in May 2008, a complaint was received that the Pademba Road Prisons in Freetown had experienced acute water shortage for a number of days, thus depriving the inmates access to water. HRCSL responded by engaging the Guma Valley Water Company and the Ministry of Energy and Power for the immediate supply of water to the prison facilities. The water situation improved afterwards.

APPENDIX 5…. The Letter of Appreciation from the Director of Prisons, acknowledging HRCSL’s assistance over the water shortage.

2

31

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  In 2008 with HRCSL fully operational, it noted an increase in the number of complaints filed, from 40 in 2007 to 204. This increase may not be unconnected with HRCSL’s engagement with civil society organisations, and the public, on its mandate and functions, through radio programmes, and the fact that complaints were received from all the regions. Of the 204 complaints received in 2008, 81 have so far been ruled inadmissible by HRCSL and referred to the appropriate state agencies for action. These referrals are disaggregated as follows: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. Sierra Leone Police (SLP) including Family Support Unit - 51 cases referred Commissioner of Labour - 20 referred MSWGCA – 06 referred Establishment Secretary - 01 referred The Ombudsman – 01 referred Ministry of Lands - 01 referred Solicitor – 01 referred

Cases referred continued to be monitored by HRCSL. Table 1: Complaints by Regions No Regions Western Area 1. Eastern Province 2. Southern Province 3. Northern Province 4. TOTAL

Total 190 04 06 04 204

Percentage (%) 93.1 2.0 2.9 2.0 100%

The table above indicates that most of the complaints received (190) were from the Western Area, because HRCSL’s complaints handling operations were mostly limited to this region. The eastern, northern and southern regions provided only 6.9% of the total number of complaints. Table 2: Complaints filed against sectors No. Different Sectors 1. Private individuals 2 Sierra Leone Police 3 Other Government Institutions Public Servants 4 Prisons 5 Private Security Agencies 6 Business, Shops, Companies etc 7 Intelligence Agency 8 Traditional Institutions 9 Religious Institutions 10 Local Government 11 Judiciary TOTAL

Total

including

Percentage % 108 53.0 22 10.8 35 17.2 05 12 16 00 01 02 02 01 204 2.5 5.9 7.8 0.0 0.5 0.9 0.9 0.5 100% 32

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Table 2 reveals the number of reports filed in HRCSL’s Complaints Registry, against various sectors. It was noted that complaints were filed against public officials, notably the police, prisons and local government officials. Of the total complaints received in 2008, 10.8% (22 complaints) were filed against the Sierra Leone Police (SLP). Amongst these were allegations of torture of detainees at the national headquarters of the Operation Special Division (OSD) of the Sierra Leone Police, in Freetown on the 9th and 10th April, 2008. Similarly, HRCSL received reports of negligence, inaction or failure by public officials (labour officers) to respond promptly to reports of alleged cases of violations or abuses.

No.

Table 3: Comparison of specific categories of complaints filed in 2007 and 2008 Nature of Complaints No. of Total No. of Complaints (2007) complaints (2007) (2008) Public Officers 2 2 3 1 2 1 1 12 Private Ind/inst 3 3 4 2 2 2 4 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 28 Public Private Officials Ind/Inst. 28 9 6 4 4 3 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 40 2 1 3 13 24 9 3 8 2 65 4 2 6 27 4 15 4 4 15 21 139

Totals

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

Deprivation of property Domestic Violence Torture, Cruel, inhuman & degrading treatment Right to education Right to life Unlawful detention Rape/Sexual assault Rights of workers Discrimination Child Abuse Fair Hearing Personal Liberty Shelter Police Abuse Matrimonial Dispute Crime Related Others Totals

3 3

28 9 6 3 3 6 40 4 15 24 13 7 8 15 23 204

The data presented above shows the increase in reported allegations of human rights violations and abuses in 2008, as compared to 2007.. Alleged human rights violations included unlawful detention, police abuse, torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment and the lack of fair hearing in the judiciary, among others. Although HRCSL is limited by its Act to address human rights violations by public officials, it noted with concern, an increase in the level of human right

33

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  abuses 3 allegedly committed by individuals and private entities. HRCSL therefore draws government’s attention to the level of abuses in the private sector.

Table 4: Types of complaints filed No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Nature of Complaint Personal Liberty Matrimonial Dispute including maintenance support Property Rights including land Fair hearing Right to life Right to education Discrimination Child Rights / Child Abuse (including education, assault, cruel and degrading treatment) Civil and Political rights Crime Related Shelter Police Abuse (including assault, torture and cruel & degrading treatment) Unlawful Detention Domestic Violence Workers / Labour Rights TOTAL Total 13 17 28 24 00 03 04 18 Percentage % 6.4 8.3 13.7 11.8 0.0 1.5 2.0 8.8

9. 10. 11. 12.

01 29 07 08

0.5 14.2 3.4 3.9

13. 14. 15.

03 09 40 204

1.5 4.4 19.6 100%

Workers rights and labour-related complaint in table 4 above represent the highest number of complaints filed (19.6%). This indicates that there are serious lapses or gaps in the system put in place by government to provide protection and redress for workers. HRCSL also had a large number of complaints dealing with the right to fair hearing – this represented 11.8% of complaints received. Closely following this are the reported cases relating to property rights (10.3%).

3

Human rights abuse refers to failure to respect, deprivation or denial of any human rights by a non-state actor or private person

34

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Table 5: Complaints filed by sex in 2008 No. Nature of Complaint Male 1. 2. Personal Liberty Matrimonial Dispute including maintenance support Property Rights including land Fair hearing Right to life Right to education Discrimination Child Rights / Child Abuse (including education, assault, cruel and degrading treatment) Civil and Political rights Crime Related Shelter Police Abuse (including assault, torture and cruel & degrading treatment) Unlawful Detention Domestic Violence Workers / Labour Rights TOTAL 07 02

Female 06 15

Total 13 17

Percentage % 6.4 8.3

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

11 15 00 01 02 08

17 09 00 02 02 10

28 24 00 03 04 18

13.7 11.8 0.0 1.5 2.0 8.8

9. 10. 11. 12.

01 14 04 06

00 15 03 02

01 29 07 08

0.5 14.2 3.4 3.9

13. 14. 15.

01 00 30 102

02 09 10 102

03 09 40 204

1.5 4.4 19.6 100%

The table above gives a snapshot of complaints filed disaggregated by sex. Women filed more complaints (105) than men (99) in 2008. The figures give an insight of vulnerability of women in their personal relationships and violations and abuses.

Summary of Some Complaints Handled Complaint No: HRCSL 03–08: CJ complained of nonpayment of her deceased husband’s gratuity from the Government of Sierra Leone, and pension from the World Health Organization (WHO). The matter was referred by HRCSL to the Establishment Secretary and monitored. The complainant was subsequently paid her deceased husband’s gratuity benefits. Complaint No: HRCSL 11–08: EW alleged that his brother deprived him of access to his property, and molested him. He further alleged that he reported the matter to the Congo Cross Police Station in Freetown, but the matter was not treated seriously. After counseling and advice by HRCSL, the complainant decided to withdraw his matter voluntarily. The matter was closed

35

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  in accordance with Rule 30 (1) of HRCSL’s (Complaints, Investigation and Inquiries) Rules, 2008. Complaint No. 14–08: MA alleged that she and her mother were denied shares in her late father’s estate because of their sex. HRCSL wrote to the Town Chief soliciting assistance in redressing the issue. The EIDHR Project of the Methodist Church in Kailahun District was also informed. A meeting was summoned by the Town Chief and chaired by EIDHR, and the matter was amicably settled in favour of the complainant. Complaint No. 32–08: FTB complained to HRCSL that her two and half year-old daughter was kidnapped by the child’s paternal grandmother. She reported the matter to the FSU at New England Ville Police Station but alleged that no serious action was taken to retrieve the child from the father and grandmother. HRCSL contacted the child’s father and grandmother, and requested a meeting with them. Though both parties were initially aggrieved, HRCSL was able to mediate the matter and the child was returned to her mother. Complaint No. 46–08: FB alleged that her father abused her right to education by requesting the Principal to expel her from school. This was on grounds that the boyfriend paid her school fees when the father refused to do so, because he wanted her to get married. HRCSL mediated in the matter and the girl was allowed to continue her schooling, but at a school of her father’s choice. Complaint No. 26–08: SK’s husband was a serving police officer, with whom she and their children had been living in the police quarters. He died in early 2008. A complaint was filed to HRCSL after she received a letter from the police authorities, requiring her to quit the barracks after the 40th Day ceremony. The notice was served even though she had not received her deceased husband’s gratuity benefits and had no means to secure an alternate accommodation. HRCSL responded to the complaint by advising the Inspector General of Police, in writing, that since the police barracks which was S. K. ‘s matrimonial home, was public property, the new Devolution of Estates Act 2007 gave S.K. the right to remain in the property for up to 6 months after the death of her spouse. The Sierra Leone Police accepted HRCSL’s advice and allowed S.K. and her family to stay until she received her late husband’s benefits from NASSIT. Complaint No. 40-08: The Commission received a complaint from AK alleging that her 12 year old son was kidnapped from her home in the Kagboro Chiefdom, Moyamba District, by one MM of the same village, apparently for forceful initiation into the “Poro Society” (male traditional secret society). She reported that on her objection to the initiation, she was threatened and intimidated by M.M. She then lodged a complaint with the Police at Shenge, but the matter was instead referred to the local traditional authorities. Upon receipt of the complaint, the Commission contacted the Inspector General of Police requesting that immediate action be taken by the Police in Moyamba and Shenge to ascertain the whereabouts of the child, confirm his safety and report back to the Commission. Three weeks later, the boy was released. Both mother and son came to thank the Commission for a job well done. Complaint No. 100– 08: PFS and four others (former employees of Seaboard West Africa Limited) complained that they had been charged to court on three count charges that were eventually dismissed by Magistrate, Samuel Margai for lack of evidence. At the end of the 36

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  court case, Seaboard West Africa refused to reinstate the complainants or to pay them salaries’ arrears despite the intervention of the Labour Commission. The Labour Commission calculated their benefits and forwarded the computation to the management of the company, who offered to pay far below the complainants’ entitlement. This development made them report to the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. On receipt of their complaint, HRCSL contacted both the Management of the company and the Labour Commission about the seeming delay of payment by the Management. HRCSL advocated for their additional payment, and this was achieved. They expressed their gratitude to the Commission for this successful resolution of their matter. Complaint No. 43–08: ABS alleged that his “wife” with whom he had 3 children from their ten year cohabitation relationship was in the habit of leaving their home and staying with her mother for some time. Recently, having left his house, she came and forcefully took the children to her mother’s place and refused to return the children and preventing them from attending school. ABS said that all his efforts to get them back from her had failed. He then reported the matter to the FSU but to no avail. The Commission suggested mediation. During mediation, the woman admitted that she and her children moved out of the home because ABS had not shown any love or concern for them. At the end of the mediation, the woman agreed to rejoin her husband, who also consented to meet with his “mother – in – law”, to thank her for taking care of his “wife” and children. Both parties were satisfied with the Commission’s intervention.

37

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Part 3: The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone
This part of the report focuses on the state of human rights in Sierra Leone for the period 1st January 2008 to end of March 2009. The information in this section is as a result of collating HRCSL’s monitoring findings, documenting news reports, and reports from other human rights organizations and international bodies, and HRCSL’s own analysis of all materials gathered. It examines how fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Constitution and international and regional instruments to which Sierra Leone is a party have been fulfilled, respected, observed or violated. It also examines the effectiveness of programs, institutions and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights in Sierra Leone. This review emphasizes the indivisibility of all human rights and that denial of any right negatively impacts the enjoyment of other rights.

3.1
3.1.1
3.1.1.1

Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Civil and Political Rights
Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of Person, and the Death Penalty

The right to life is provided for in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), and reiterated in Sections 15 and 16 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. These documents guarantee individual entitlement to life, liberty, security of person, and protection of the law. In 2008, Sierra Leone was rated last on the Human Development Index (HDI), with the highest rate of maternal deaths at 1,800 per 100,000 births, and infant mortality at 270 deaths per 1,000 live births, as reported by the UNDP Human Development Index 2008. According to the 2004 National Census, the national life expectancy was 48.4 years. The HRCSL is still of the view that government is under a positive obligation to take the necessary steps to reduce these high levels of mortality rates, and to work towards increasing life expectancy. The TRC report explicitly calls for the immediate repeal of laws authorizing the death penalty; for a moratorium on all executions pending abolition and for the government to commute all pending death sentences. Despite this, in 2008, the death penalty remained part of the laws of Sierra Leone, and a de facto moratorium on executions continued. Even though HRCSL, local and international organizations pressed the government for immediate abolition, no positive action was taken on the issue. HRCSL views with serious concern government’s abstention from voting on a moratorium on the death penalty at the UN General Assembly in November 2008. The year under review opened with 23 persons on death row: 20 men and 3 women. In November, after the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals of eleven men who had been sentenced to death for treason, the number was reduced to 12 persons: 9 men and 3 women.

38

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Recommendations: a. Government must make 50% reduction of current high levels of maternal and infant mortality an immediate national emergency. Adequate resources and efforts including the provisions of accurate information and data to the public should be directed in achieving this reduction in the shortest possible time. b. Civil society organizations are encouraged to undertake research on reasons for the persistent high levels of infant and maternal mortality and make recommendations for the consideration of stakeholders. c. Government should ensure the availability of comprehensive health services including drugs, ambulances, doctors and other health personnel in all hospitals and health centers throughout the country, especially for women and children. d. Government must implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations for the abolition of the death penalty; commutation of all death sentences to life imprisonment, and continue to adhere to the moratorium on executions. Protection from Deprivation of Property

3.1.1.2

Protection from deprivation of property is guaranteed by Section 21 of the Constitution. Article 17 of the UDHR also states “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others”. Government’s intention to develop a well organized system of land transfer in the Western Area was a welcome idea. However, the government ban on signature of survey plans required for the conveyance of land in the Western Area thereby stifled the free transfer of private property and was illegal. Government is urged to expedite regularizing the current situation using lawful means. Moreover, given the volume of land disputes and the illegal sale of land involving public officials, it is clear that government did not fulfill its obligation to protect and guarantee enjoyment of this right. Public concerns continue to be raised about the discriminatory and non-transparent manner in the allocation of state land. In the provinces, longstanding land disputes remained unresolved with the potential of triggering violence e.g. the problem between Dawabu and Mambu villages, in Koya Chiefdom, Kenema District. Recommendations: a. Government is urged to expedite the development and implementation of a properly organized system of land transfer across the country. b. Allocation of government land by the Ministry of Lands should be transparent and nondiscriminatory and ensure that marginalized and vulnerable groups benefit from such allocation.

39

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  c. The Ministry of Local Government, through the Decentralization Secretariat (DecSec) should intensify the training needs of chiefs, regarding their roles and responsibilities, especially with regards to land management, and handling of land and property disputes. d. In order to resolve the continued land disputes, the Ministry of Lands should review its policies, revise them if need be, and work with other state agencies, like the police, to ensure that the laws and policies are strictly adhered to. 3.1.1.3 Freedom of Expression and the Press

Freedom of expression is guaranteed by Article 19 of the ICCPR and the UDHR, and also in Article 9 of the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). This right is further entrenched in Section 25 of the 1991 Constitution, which provides that, no person shall be deterred from holding opinions, receiving and imparting ideas and information. It also provides that nobody should interfere with any person’s correspondence. This section further states that a person has the freedom to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions, and guarantees academic freedom in institutions of learning. In the year under review, HRCSL observed relative progress made in the area of freedom of expression. A very high number of media organizations, both electronic and print, still had presence in the country; there was no reported case of refusal by the IMC to register or renew the licenses of any media organizations. The total number of media houses in the country rose to 88, from 72 in 2007, and the number of radio and television stations rose from 42 in 2007, to 56. President Ernest Bai Koroma was part of the re-launching of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) radio station after its temporary closure, and this was considered a significant demonstration of support for- freedom of expression. However, HRCSL noted that the seditious libel provisions in the Public Order Act of 1965 were still being used to control the media. In March, the Managing Editor of The Independent Observer was charged with criminal libel under Sections 32-37 of the 1965 Public Order Act, following two articles published in his paper, accusing the Minister of Transport and Aviation, of corruption. That same month, the publisher of Awareness Times newspaper was arrested and detained by the Criminal Investigation Department in Freetown, in connection with the publication of a caricature of the President in the February 29th edition of the newspaper. She was eventually released the same day, without charge. There was also an attack in August on the opposition party, SLPP radio station by youths who were alleged to be supporters of the APC, the ruling party. The SLPP party headquarters where the radio was housed was vandalized, in reaction to a programme that was aired by that radio station. In a related incident, seven journalists who went to cover the disturbances were reportedly assaulted by the Sierra Leone Police at the scene.

40

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  In another development, the Ministry of Information shut down the SLPP radio station for an alleged failure to comply with registration requirements. The IMC intervened, and the Ministry’s decision was overturned. In Tombo the Manager of the IRN member station Voice of Peninsular Mountains was violently attacked, and the radio station shut down for about 2 weeks by disgruntled community members. In February, a reporter of Radio Kolenten, in Kambia was harassed, intimidated and received numerous threatening phone calls from unknown persons. On 28th March, 2009, the eve of the parliamentary bye-elections in Pujehun, Radio Wanjei, a member station of the Independent Radio Network (IRN) was allegedly attacked by All Peoples Congress (APC) party stalwarts. The attack on the station caused a temporary closure of the station because of the malicious damage caused to its electrical appliances. A reporter of the same station was also beaten up by an alleged SLPP supporter. The IMC received 32 complaints against media houses for alleged libel. HRCSL calls for all media practitioners to discharge their duties with responsibility and due respect for the rights of others The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) filed a suit in the Supreme Court in February, seeking to repeal the seditious libel provisions. The lawsuit, the first direct legal challenge in West Africa to the Criminal Libel Laws, draws attention to the constitutional protection given to freedom of expression under Section 25, Chapter III, of the 1991 Constitution. A draft Freedom of Information bill was developed by civil society groups, championed by the Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI), and is waiting to be sent to Parliament. Recommendations: a. Government should leave the oversight and regulation of the media to the IMC and refrain from unwarranted interference with media institutions. b. Government should expedite the process of transforming the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service into an independent public service broadcasting corporation and ensure that the process is transparent and participatory at all levels. c. The IMC should be strengthened to supervise and monitor the operations of the media. d. Parliament should take immediate steps to repeal the seditious libel provisions in the Public Order Act, 1965 and enact the Freedom of Information bill. e. Government should ensure that it strengthens accessibility and effectiveness of civil remedies for defamation and invasion of privacy.

41

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  3.1.1.4 Freedom of Assembly/Association

This freedom, the right of people to gather, join and form associations without fear of state harassment or intrusion or to go where ever they want, is guaranteed in section 26(1) of the 1991 constitution which states that “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly or of association…” In 2008, local government elections were conducted. There were isolated incidents of political intolerance with reports of candidate’s homes being attacked by opposing party members. In Kono, for example, it was reported that campaign posters of certain candidates were defaced, and a female candidate was barred from campaigning by rival contestants. There were also reports that after a group of young men, armed with sticks and stones, allegedly aligned with the APC, attacked the SLPP party headquarters and vandalized it on the 13th of August, an SLPP delegation went to State House for a meeting with the President, to discuss the fracas; this group was prevented from entering State House, by some people who were believed to be APC supporters. This ended in a skirmish, which neither the police nor State House security personnel did anything to stop. During that same incident, police and security personnel manhandled a group of journalists who had gone to cover the clash. Recommendations: a. The police should be encouraged to continue to maintain independence and impartiality at all times, and to avoid the use of force except where absolutely necessary, bearing in mind the principle of proportionality. b. NEC, PPRC, and NCD should increase public education on political tolerance and the right to participation in public affairs. Political parties should encourage, embrace and practice pluralism and diversity. PPRC should foster/encourage internal democracy and openness within political parties. PPRC and political parties should ensure that their code of conduct is enforced at all times, not only during elections.

c. d.

e.

3.1.2 Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Corruption and government inefficiency in service provision have consistently undermined the realization of economic, social and cultural rights, and 2008 was no exception. Inaction in the constitutional review process, a year after presentation of the Constitutional Review Committee report to the President, has stalled advocacy efforts on the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights in the constitutional Bill of Rights.

42

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  3.1.2.1 Right to Enjoy Just and Favourable Conditions of Work

This right is guaranteed in Article 7 of the ICESCR, and Article 15 of the ACHPR. Article 7(a) (i)(ii) defines minimum remuneration as that which provides workers with “a decent living for themselves and their families…” The official minimum wage for workers in Sierra Leone is set by government at Le.125,000.00 (equivalent of US$ 42) monthly, an amount insufficient to provide a decent living, contravening Article 7 of ICESCR Youth unemployment remains a huge problem in Sierra Leone. During the year under review, implementation of the UN PBF Youth employment and empowerment project commenced, and 39% of the funds was disbursed through micro finance schemes to start and scale up youth businesses. This could possibly be better addressed by provision of expert technical and vocational guidance and training programmes, to achieve full and productive employment for youth as envisaged in article 6 of the ICESCR. 3.1.2.2 Right to Education

Article 13 of the ICESCR guarantees the right of everyone to education, and that primary education is compulsory and available to all. Additionally, Article 17 of the ACHPR states that every individual shall have the right to education; the 2004 Education Act also guarantees the right to basic education, defined as six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school. The Act requires the government to provide basic primary education free of charge. Although Chapter 3 of the Constitution does not guarantee the right to education, the Constitutional Review Committee recommended in 2007, the inclusion of this right in the Bill of Rights. In 2008, although basic education at the primary level was provided free of charge by the government, the enjoyment of this right was undermined by unofficial and extra school charges, which placed undue burden on the parents. HRCSL learnt that a number of teachers in the provinces did not receive salaries on time, and the burden of paying them fell on the communities. In some cases, denial of the right to education, particularly for girls, arose from the lack of senior secondary schools in their localities, which then forced parents to send their children away from homes to attend school in the main towns. For such children, the lack of adequate supervision and accommodation led to very high drop out rates. Overcrowding was still a problem in schools and had a negative impact on pupils. Performance at the 2008 BECE and WASSCE public examination 2008 exams was very unsatisfactory. For example, according to WAEC, the number of passes in English at the BECE examination fell from 46.51% in 2007, to 45.38%; passes in Social Studies fell from 69.94% in 2007 to 58.25% in 2008; passes in Agricultural Science and Introductory Technology fell from 61.01% and 49.71% in 2007, to 46.34 to 44.56% respectively,. In the provinces, there were reports of teachers exploiting children by sending them to work on their farms during school hours. Countrywide, some parents sent their children and wards to do petty trading on their behalf instead of sending them to school. The Freetown City Council 43

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  (FCC) issued a press release in this regard, warning parents to desist from this act, or be fined. In fact, some children were even apprehended and held at the FCC office before being released to their parents who had earlier been reprimanded. Children living with disabilities continued to be disadvantaged. There is a serious lack of special needs teaching and learning materials and qualified teachers. Worse still, only few special needs schools exist in the country. The Mary Rice School for the Mentally Retarded in Bo was almost closed as a result of the lack of transport facilities to transport students. Also, the Special Needs Educational Centre operated by Christian Brothers in Bo, was closed for lack of funding. Recommendations: a. To ensure that all children access compulsory free primary education, government should pay all teachers, especially those in the provinces and on time. b. Government should provide the schools with prompt and regular grants and at the same time ensure that all unofficial school charges which undermine free primary education are eradicated.

c. Government should undertake intensive public sensitization on the 2004 Education Act especially on the right of children to acquire basic education. d. Government should enforce compulsory primary education to ensure that every child is engaged in full time primary education. Special steps should be taken to ensure street children and children with disabilities enjoy this right. e. Local Councils should continue to popularize and enforce their bye–laws pertaining to education. f. Government should provide basic teaching and learning materials to facilitate the teaching of disabled children. g. Government should provide training for more teachers in special needs education.

3.1.2.3

Right to Health

Amongst the steps to be taken by state parties to the ICESCR to achieve full realization of the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, is the creation of conditions which would assure to all, medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness. The government of Sierra Leone has expended its resources to train medical personnel, who upon qualification migrate to other countries for economic reasons, depriving the country of their much-needed skills and services. Poor pay and conditions of service for doctors, nurses and medical support staff, made it impossible for the government of Sierra Leone to fulfill its obligation to provide the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for citizens.

44

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  According to Amnesty International 4, there were only 162 qualified medical doctors in the country for a population of 5 million people, while the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) puts the number of doctors working for government at 114. Even though government has constructed a large number of medical centers, the lack of medical equipment and or personnel remain a challenge; for example the NaCSA-built health facility in Regent Village. Accessibility to existing medical facilities continued to be a problem due to the lack of transportation. Infant and maternal mortality remained the highest in the world. Among the reasons given by experts for this phenomenon, is the very high cost of medical services; pregnant women who cannot afford to pay, are often denied access to health care and the general lack of drugs and medication. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone was relatively low. According to the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), there were about 75,000 people who were HIV-positive - i.e. 1.5% of the country’s population. In spite of international funding of anti-retroviral drugs, ARV treatment was still not accessed for a number of reasons including stigma and ignorance especially among the poor and marginalized. Also of concern is the fact that the existing law for the prevention and control of the epidemic discriminates against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and criminalizes mother-to-child transmission. The government has clearly not met its commitment of ensuring affordable and accessible healthcare. Recommendations: a. Government should, as a matter of urgency, fulfill its obligation to provide the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for citizens. b. Government should equip existing peripheral health clinics with the necessary drugs and medical equipment. c. Government should ensure the availability of comprehensive health services including drugs, ambulances, doctors and other health personnel in all hospitals and health centers throughout the country, especially for women, children, disabled and the aged. d. Government should look into the conditions of service for medical personnel with the aim of improving them. e. Government should put emphasis on recruiting more qualified medical personnel. f. Government should take action to provide free health care for pregnant women. g. Government should put monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure the judicious use of its resources allocated to the Ministry of Health. h. Parliament should take immediate steps to amend the Prevention and Control of HIV & AIDS Act 2007 to take account of gender and human rights concerns.
4

Amnesty International, 2009 Maternal Mortality Campaign presentation,

45

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

3.1.2.4

Human Rights Concerns in Mining Activities

Mining remained a thorny issue throughout the year. Consultations with civil society organizations revealed that the perennial problems of environmental degradation still persisted in Moyamba, a huge proportion of the excavated land had not been properly reclaimed, and was still covered by large ponds and sand tailings. The Government White Paper on the Jenkins Johnston Commission of Inquiry into the 2007 Koidu Holdings disturbances accepted / approved most of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry, while some were referred to the Task Force appointed by the President in early 2008, to review contracts signed by mining companies (Koidu Holdings, Sierra Rutile and African Minerals). The collapse of the Solondo dredge at Sierra Rutile in 2008 resulted in the death of two employees and injury of a number of others. Families of deceased employees, and other workers who lost their jobs were compensated. The use of child miners in all types of mining and in stone quarrying remained widespread and problematic. According to a study conducted by the International Human Rights Clinic of Harvard Law School, a sizeable proportion of children living in Kono aged between the ages of 6 and 18 were found to be involved in diamond mining activities 5. The children’s health and education were adversely affected by their presence in the mines. Recommendations: a. Government should review all mining laws, policies and contracts to ensure they fulfill and promote human rights, corporate social responsibility and the protection of ecosystems, biodiversity and the environment. b. Government should immediately enforce policies and laws relating to the elimination of hazardous activities in all mining areas. c. Government should take all steps necessary to enforce the prohibition against child mining. d. Government should take urgent action to provide children with educational and training opportunities that will deter them from engaging in mining activities. e. The employers in the mining sector should improve standards and conditions of service of employees. f. Government should speedily implement the recommendations of the Jenkins Johnston Commission of Inquiry.

5

2008 Harvard report on Child Mining

46

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  g. Government should ratify ILO Convention 138 (1973) concerning the minimum age for admission to employment and ILO Convention 182 (1999) concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

3.1.3 Women’s Rights
Gender inequality and violence against women were prevalent at all levels of society throughout the year under review. Women and children still faced barriers in accessing justice because of the judicial administrative bottle necks, shortage of judicial personnel, the high cost of legal representation, the absence of courts in certain areas, and other cultural barriers they had to contend with. The country continued to operate a dual system of justice, with 80 % 6 of the population accessing customary law, which continued to discriminate against women, particularly with regard to ownership of productive resources, inheritance, and marriage. In spite of the above, during the course of the year, the courts, the MSWGCA, the FSU, and HRCSL itself, made increasing use of new laws passed in 2007, namely the Devolution of Estates Act, the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act, and the Domestic Violence Act to protect the rights of women. Work on realizing the rights of women protected by the three Gender Justice laws enacted in 2007, culminated in the launch of the Gender Roll-Out plan in December 2008. The goal of this plan is to ensure that all bodies and agencies responsible for enforcing the Gender Laws fulfill the roles required of them under the new Acts which provide additional remedies for the longstanding discrimination against women, and greater equality of protection and treatment. In 2008, a study titled “Gender-Based Violence in Sierra Leone – A National Research” was published by MSWGCA in collaboration with UNFPA, UNIFEM and Statistics Sierra Leone. The object of the research was to fill the gap on the current statistical data on GBV issues and to provide the basis for developing policies, programmes and defined indicators and benchmarks for establishing frameworks for systematic and effective GBV interventions. Also in September 2008, MSWGCA and Ministry of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development in collaboration with their partners produced an improved ten module manual to be primarily utilized by the Sierra Leone Police, probation officers, social workers and other social welfare agencies to protect and seek justice for survivals of violence and juvenile offenders. It could also be used as a monitoring tool for all key institutions involved in the administration of justice. 3.1.3.1 Participation in Politics and Other Public Offices

In 2008, Sierra Leonean women continued to face major obstacles in their quest for increased participation in politics. While large numbers of Sierra Leonean women now actively participate in national and local electoral processes, the number who have attained political and elected office remains small. According to a memorandum developed by women politicians in
6

Amnesty International, 2008 report

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  collaboration with the PPRC, women’s representation in elected decision-making bodies at all levels was only 13%; only 3 in a cabinet of 22, and only 15.2% of Parliamentarians were women. They were also under-represented in public life with only 7% of senior civil servants being women. According to the Master and Registrar there were only 2 female magistrates and in the High Court, 9 out of 21 judges were female, while 4 out of 7 of the Supreme Court Justices were women. 2008 saw the landmark appointment of a woman as Chief Justice. Although women’s groups and other civil society called on the government to implement the TRC recommendation for 30% of political parties’ candidates for public elections to be women, this call was, unfortunately, not adhered to by either the government or the political parties, as was evidenced in the percentage of female participation during the last local government elections. According to the PPRC, out of a total of 1,324 candidates that contested, only 224 were women (16.91%). This, nonetheless, represented a significant increase in women’s participation compared to previous elections, and a step forward for Sierra Leone, which ranked lowest on the UNDP’s Gender Development Index. Official results from the elections indicate that 86 women were successful and that the number of elected women councilors nearly doubled from 11% in 2004 to 20% in 2008; this was as a result of concerted advocacy and training efforts by women’s groups and other stakeholders. 3.1.3.2 Violence against Women

Although the Concluding Comments of the Committee of CEDAW on Sierra Leone had urged the authorities to enhance effective enforcement of the domestic violence law, to ensure that victims have access to immediate means of redress, domestic violence persisted and increased. In 2008, HRCSL and the FSU received increased number of complaints of domestic violence (HRCSL received 18 complaints of domestic violence in 2008, compared to just 7 in 2007), and according to the FSU, there was an increase in the number of sexual violence cases reported in 2008. This increase is believed to be the result of an intensive national sensitization campaign. HRCSL noted the wide publicity given to one of the first prosecutions under the 2007 Domestic Violence Act, which was considered a test case, and will provide an incentive to other victims to seek legal redress. Recommendations: a. The Sierra Leone Police should be resourced to establish well equipped and functioning FSUs in every police station in the country. b. The Inspector General should ensure that serving police officers at all levels (including Executive Management Board) are provided with regular and adequate training to respond appropriately to gender based violence issues. c. Government should take steps to seek out and provide resources for speedy implementation of the Strategic Roll-Out Plan for Implementation of the three Gender laws. d. Government should implement the 30% quota for women in politics and public office, and ensure its inclusion in the proposed new Constitution. 48

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

e. Government should increase subvention to the MSWGCA, to respond more effectively to women’s rights issues particularly implementation of the concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee. f. Sierra Leone Police and Ministry of Health and Sanitation to take immediate action to improve services provided by Police Medical Officers and to ensure that all victims of gender based violence are promptly examined and provided with medical reports free of charge and without delay.

3.1.4

Children’s Rights

HRCSL commends the government’s presentation of Sierra Leone’s 2nd Periodic Report at the 48th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on 29th May, 2008 in Geneva. The formation of the Steering Committee of the Child Rights Act (CRA) by the MSWGCA for the implementation of the CRA, was another welcome development. 3.1.4.1 Harmful Traditional Practices

HRCSL viewed with concern the continued practice of female genital cutting. Government has failed to take action that demonstrates the political will to address this issue, and its failure to abolish this practice violates the right to liberty and security of the persons. HRCSL received several complaints of girls and boys kidnapped and forcefully initiated into the Bondo and Poro (secret societies for women and men). HRCSL observed that increased advocacy against FGC was undertaken by civil society organizations across the country, and International Day of Zero Tolerance Against FGM is now annually marked in Sierra Leone. According to Section 46 (1) of the Sierra Leone Child Rights Act 2007, “no person or association shall subject a child to any of the following customary practices: (a) Early marriage (b) Child betrothal” Despite this explicit prohibition, these practices persist nationwide and major sensitization efforts are necessary to eradicate them. There is a contradiction between provisions of the CRA that prohibit marriage under the age of 18 and Section 2(2) of the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act, that apparently permits marriage under 18 years with parental consent. There is an urgent need to resolve this contradiction in favour of the protection of children. 3.1.4.2 Teenage Pregnancy and Girl Child Education

HRCSL is alarmed at reports received of increase in teenage pregnancy and believes this will adversely affect the health, education, and wellbeing of girls and their families. High levels of teenage pregnancy suggest that government, communities, and schools are not providing girls with the information and support necessary to enable them to avoid becoming pregnant.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  There is a problem of retention with regards to girl child education; according to Statistics Sierra Leone, primary school enrolment for girls was 98%, but fell to 32% at the secondary school level, and further dropped to 28% at the tertiary level. Despite the protective provisions in the Education Act 2004, the school system discriminates by preventing expectant girl mothers from continuing their education. Recommendations: a. Government should undertake an in-depth study of the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy and all its implications, with the view to developing a comprehensive policy and strategies for its eradication. b. HRCSL calls for urgent united action by government, traditional leaders, and communities to address the menace of teenage pregnancy. c. Government, communities, and schools should provide the necessary information and support system to adolescents and teenagers to address the growing problem of teenage pregnancy. d. Government should take concrete steps, including consultation with stakeholders, public education, encouragement of a non-politicized public debate, and enactment of legislation to address FGC. e. Parliament should expedite the repeal of Section 2(2) of the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act 2007 that permits the marriage of persons aged below 18 years. f. Government should take immediate action to implement the recommendations and directions contained in the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Second Periodic Report on Sierra Leone, May 2008, and also disseminate the report widely.

3.1.5 3.1.5.1

Vulnerable Groups Persons with Disabilities

The 2004 Census estimated that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) make up 10% of the country’s population. In 2008, the lack of legislation and policies to protect the rights of Persons with Disabilities continued to expose them to rampant discrimination, marginalization, and other violations of their human rights. 3.1.5.1.1 Access to Health

Articles 9 and 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) require state parties to take steps to ensure that PWDs access affordable health services and facilities on an equal basis with others. This is supported by the International Covenant on Economic, Social

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  and Cultural Rights. Section 27(3) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone addresses the issue of accessibility through the “general protection from discrimination”. According to the August 2008 Disability Awareness Action Group (DAAG) report of a survey on the situation of PWDs in Sierra Leone, only 25 % out of the 450,000 disabled persons in the country could access health services. The report reveals that physical, economic, and social barriers were the leading factors in the poor health condition of this category of citizens. The architectural design of most health centers (both public and private) hindered PWDs’ access to these facilities and was a big challenge. The health situation of women with disabilities remained very desperate, because of their acute vulnerability and lack of knowledge of reproductive health matters. During a training of traditional leaders in the middle of 2008, traditional leaders commented on the plight of these women, who were sometimes impregnated and abandoned. HRCSL views with concern that the deaf, speech impaired, and blind continued to receive inadequate health care because of their unmet special needs. HRCSL applauds the announcement by the Ministry of Health that it planned, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners to eradicate polio, through an intensive nationwide immunization campaign against the disease. It was also reported that the effort by government, in conjunction with an international NGO (German Leprosy Relief Association – GLRA), has succeeded in stabilizing the spread of leprosy – the figure remained at 1.5% last year, as it had been in the past three years. Again, the Commission commends the government for that achievement, and for also controlling the spread of Lassa fever, the proven cause of most deafness in Sierra Leone. The situation of mental health patients was critical, with only two mental hospitals, and a sole practicing psychiatrist in the country. These mental health facilities are ill-equipped, understaffed, and inadequately supported; they are also wholly insufficient to meet the mental health needs of a nation emerging from a traumatic civil war. Recommendations: a. Curriculum for the training of health workers should include sections on the special needs of PWDs. b. Government should prioritise training and recruitment of mental health care personnel and increase support for this sector to ensure retention of mental health care professionals. c. Government should invest more resources in the prevention of diseases that cause physical and mental disabilities.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  3.1.5.1.2 Access to Education

In 2008, it was reported that PWDs made up a sizable percentage of the illiterate population. HRCSL observed that many children with disabilities did not attend school, in contravention of the Child Rights Act of 2007. Unlike their able bodied counterparts, disabled children in school were generally not given the required support to realize their full potential. Most public school buildings, even those constructed in the postwar era were inaccessible to PWDs. Statistics from NGOs working on inclusive education noted that only 3 of the 18,000 teachers in the country were trained and qualified in Special Needs education. Complaints made to disability interest groups showed that a lot of PWDs in tertiary institutions in the Western Area were forced to change course by school authorities - this was due to the unavailability of special needs materials to support their first choice courses. According to the Ministry of Education, twelve special needs schools received some support from the government and through the Sababu Education Project, government provided scholarships which some PWDs received as a “grant in aid” to enable them to pursue higher education. Recommendations: a. Government should ensure that all educational centers, both private and public, are physically accessible to PWDs, as provided for in the CRPD, and equipped with the appropriate teaching and learning materials. b. The government should institute a policy that will create more educational opportunities for PWDs. c. Government should increase the support for special needs schools, and encourage the recruitment of Special Needs Teachers. 3.1.5.1.3 Access to Justice

The 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone guarantees protection before the law for all citizens, but does not specifically provide for facilities to ensure the effective “access to justice” for PWDs, as prescribed in Articles 12 (3)7 and 13 (1) 8 of the CRPD. In 2008, 50 % of the complaints to the HRCSL from the community of PWDs in Sierra Leone were about their inability to get justice. The hearing impaired and blind were also victimized - police officers sometimes ignored them, claiming an inability to communicate with them. The blind even had no means of verifying the actual statement they gave to the police.
7 “States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.” – Article 12(3) CRPD “States Parties shall ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of procedural and age-appropriate accommodations, in order to facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants, including as witnesses, in all legal proceedings, including at investigative and other preliminary stages.” – Article 13 (1)CRPD
8

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

HRCSL noted that the court system had no provision for sign language interpreters for deaf people, or braille for the blind, to ensure that these people get a fair trial, as provided for in Article 9(2e) 9 of the CRPD. Recommendations: a. Government should ensure the inclusion of information on special needs in the training curriculum of law enforcement agencies. b. Government should work towards restructuring the legal system so that it will accommodate people with special needs.

3.1.5.1.4

Political Participation of PWDs

HRCSL noted an increase in political participation of PWDs. Disabled candidates contested and won seats on local councils which boosted the interest and participation of PWDs in political and public affairs, in line with Article 29 of the CRPD and Section 26 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. It was reported that during the last local council elections, tactile ballots were provided for the PWDS who needed it through a NEC’s initiative although there is no legal requirement for the provision of special voting materials in the national laws. This lack of policy and legislation to protect PWDs’ right to vote contravenes Article 29a (i) and (ii) 10 of the CRPD. Recommendations: • Government should create an environment whereby every citizen would have equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote and equally participate in national affairs.

9 “Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public. Article 9 (2e) CRPD
10 States Parties shall guarantee to persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal

basis with others, and shall undertake to: a. Ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others, directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected, inter alia, by: i. Ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use; ii. Protecting the right of persons with disabilities to vote by secret ballot in elections and public referendums without intimidation, and to stand for elections, to effectively hold office and perform all public functions at all levels of government, facilitating the use of assistive and new technologies where appropriate; Article 29a - CRPD

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  3.1.5.1.5 Other Rights of PWDs

In 2008, Persons with Disabilities continued to face discrimination and marginalization, even within their families. At the start of the year under review, most of the complaints by Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs), to the HRCSL, related to shelter. Due to PWDs’ unmet need for shelter a number went ahead to illegally seize properties, both private and government-owned. The national organization that deals with disability issues, SLUDI, and other NGOs, claims that lack of accommodation accounted for the numerous homeless PWDs that roamed the streets in urban areas. In a related development, the Commission noted the ongoing construction of houses for War Amputees by the Norwegian Refugee Council, through the Norwegian Friendship of Sierra Leone, as evidenced in the construction that was taking place along the Makeni-Kabala Highway. HRCSL has noted that only a small percentage of PWDs were in formal employment with a much larger proportion benefiting from self employment generation through micro finance schemes.

3.1.5.2

The Aged

According to information from the Social Security Safety Net, a unit of the Ministry of Labor that services the elderly, the Aged (i.e. people 65 years and above) made up 3.2 % (165,000) of the total population. Despite a national culture of caring for the elderly at home a significant and growing number of these people lived in very deplorable conditions, and often resorted to street begging in order to sustain themselves. Agencies working with the Aged reported that in 2008, 50% of the residents in the only home of the aged were picked up from the streets. In the year under review, the Social Security Safety Net distributed money to 16,000 people, out of 45,000 registered elderly people in 65 chiefdoms, who had been verified and certified as aged; this amount was to cover feeding, housing, and medical care. Even though this was a small step, the Commission commends the government for taking this stride in the right direction. NASSIT, (the National Social Security Trust), another complementary institution that provides pensions provided benefit to over 500 aged persons.

3.1.5.3

Sexual Orientation

The practice of homosexuality between consenting adult males in Sierra Leone is criminalized by virtue of Section 61 of the 1861 Offences against the Person Act, and carries a penalty of life imprisonment. However same sex acts between women are not illegal. Infrequent statements from religious fundamentalist preachers against homosexuality have contributed to a climate that condones discrimination and prejudice against gays and lesbians.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

3.1.6 3.1.6.1

Human Rights in the Administration of Justice The Sierra Leone Police

HRCSL continued to observe strides taken in the Sierra Leone Police to improved investigation and prosecution of cases over the last year. Community policing initiatives bridged the gap between the SLP and the civil populace, which helped to enhance the capacity of the SLP in effectively combating crimes. In the Northern Region alone, 7,444 cases of various categories were reported in police stations in 2008. In Kenema District, it was reported that community policing contributed to increased mediation of disputes between parties, which minimized the number of matters forwarded to court. Provision of public information on police emergency response numbers by means of billboard and radio announcements also contributed to building public confidence and good will toward the police. Notwithstanding this, HRCSL was concerned at reports of high-handedness and the use of excessive force by the police in combating crime. For instance, it was alleged that on 9th of October 2008, Operation Special Division (OSD) Officers assaulted E.M. and her son during a raid at the Flamingo Night Club in Makeni. The Bombali Human Rights Committee pressed the Regional Crime Officer to investigate the officers involved, but no action was taken. During HRCSL’s nationwide consultative meetings with civil society, concerns were raised about delays by police medical officers in issuing medical report to confirm rape and other sexual violence allegations, for example, cases of unlawful carnal knowledge involving two girls aged 9 and 13 in Gerihun Village, Baoma Chiefdom and Bumpeh Ngawo Chiefdom, Bo District were not dealt with by the police in a timely manner, because of several weeks delay in the issuance of the medical report by the police doctor. There were numerous consistent reports nationwide of police officers demanding money from complainants to investigate and prosecute their reports. In Kenema, monies were reportedly demanded routinely by the police as transportation cost to arrest defendants. Delay in charging cases to court was also common. In Sorogbema Chiefdom in Pujehun District, there were reports of police detaining suspects beyond the stipulated limit of 72 hours before charging them to court, contrary to Section 17 (3) of the 1991 Constitution. In some instances, methods used by the police in handling public disorder were inappropriate for example, in Freetown, a private incident between a secondary school student and a police officer spiraled out of control and culminated in a violent clash between students and police, in the course of which students, teachers and police were injured, and the school building and parts of the police barracks damaged at Kingtom. There was also the incident that followed the intersecondary school sports at the National Stadium earlier in the year, where it was alleged that police had only opened one gate for hundreds of exiting students, and then fired tear gas in a bid to disperse them quickly. This resulted in the injury of several children, and created chaos in the general vicinity of the stadium.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  At a police training program in Kingtom in Freetown HRCSL learnt of the dire need for the provision of a reference library for police investigators and prosecutors that will enable them to access the laws, books and other materials that will enhance their work. Recommendations: a. The Police should intensify community policing initiatives nationwide to deepen public confidence. b. Continued training and improved terms and conditions should be provided to ensure that police officers maintain the highest levels of professionalism and neutrality in carrying out their official functions, especially at public events. c. Government should recruit more police officers to enable the SLP to combat rising levels of lawlessness and crime. d. The Inspector General of Police should collaborate with HRCSL to educate the public on citizens’ rights to demonstrate and process in public. e. The Inspector General should direct police officers conducting investigations to detain suspects for the shortest time necessary and strictly in accordance with the law. f. Government should continue to improve the conditions of police detention facilities across the country in line with international standards. g. Use of force by police should be kept to a minimum, used as a last resort only when necessary and proportional to the threat faced by the police. h. Government with the assistance of international partners should establish a well equipped library for use by prosecutors and investigators. i. Government should review the Police Act of 1964, the structure and operations of the CDIID to increase overall effectiveness, impartiality, accountability and independence of the police.

3.1.6.2

The Court System

The right to seek effective redress within a reasonable time is enshrined in section 23 (1) of the 1991 Constitution, which states that “whenever any person is charged with a criminal offence he shall unless the charge is withdrawn, be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law”. This is also supported by other regional and international instruments, e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 7), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Art. 14), and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Art. 7). However, there has been no authoritative interpretation by the courts in Sierra Leone of ‘fair hearing within a reasonable time’ as contained in Section 23 (1) of the Constitution to guide the 56

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  courts and criminal proceedings lasting for more than 2 years have been reported, which in HRCSL’s, opinion amounts to undue delay. There were 15 prisoners held at the Port Loko State Prison, some of whom had detained for up to 6 years, due to the infrequent sitting of the High Court and the delay in preparation of indictments. In spite of these instances, according to the Consultant Master and Registrar, because of the appointment of resident judges and magistrates in the various regions, 686 backlog cases were cleared. During 2008, with resident judges having been appointed for each of the three regions in the country, the high courts operated more effectively at the regional headquarters of Makeni, Bo, and Kenema. Resident magistrates were also appointed to some of the districts. However, where there were no resident magistrates, (such as Bonthe and Pujehun Districts), these districts were served periodically by the magistrates from the headquarter towns. The Commission noted progress made to ease the transportation problems of magistrates, through the provision of vehicles from the UN/PBF project. However, there were still some Magistrate courts in some districts, where the problem of transportation persisted, and led to the frequent adjournment of cases of remand prisoners. In Port Loko District in particular, a huge number of remand prisoners at the Port Loko State Prison were not taken to court because of lack of transport. There were numerous reports from around the country alleging that State Counsel were refusing to bring serious matters to trial. This caused frustration in victims, who felt that they were being denied justice. HRCSL noted, with grave concern, the manner in which chiefs’ courts, also known as “lesser courts”, continued to transform themselves into courts of law, adjudicating matters, despite the fact that their traditional role is to mediate specific matters like family and land disputes. These courts were reported to be deciding cases outside their jurisdiction, rather than referring them to the institutions authorized to sit on such matters. Nationwide, chiefs’ courts continued to levy heavy fines which were sometimes unaccounted for, subjected people to inhuman treatment, and arbitrarily detained people found wanting by customary law. In one instance, the local human rights committees had such decisions overturned. For instance in Matotoka town, Tane Chiefdom, Tonkolili District CGG, reported that in September 2008, a Regent Chief presiding over a local court, detained and chained a female JSS 1 pupil for failure to refund a summon fee of Le 12,000. A similar situation also occurred in Kakua Chiefdom in the Bo District, where 15 people were chained to trees for refusing to pay the local government tax. HRCSL considers such treatment inhuman and degrading, and a violation of the rights set out in section 20 (1) of the 1991 Constitution. HRCSL also noted with concern, the perennial problems confronting the Local Courts in the country; foremost being the frequent delays in payment of salaries and allowances of staff. Recommendations: a. Government should ensure that steps are taken to increase supervision and monitoring of state counsel and magistrates assigned around the country.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  b. Additional magistrates should be sent to districts depending on the case load. c. The Ministry of Local Government should intensify its training of local courts personnel on local courts procedures and jurisdiction. d. The Ministry of Local Government should take urgent action to curb the excesses of the ‘lesser courts’. e. Government should intensify public consultation and debate on the proposed new legislation on the local courts and expedite passage of the bill by parliament. f. Temporary backlog courts should be re-introduced where necessary.

3.1.6.3

The Sierra Leone Prisons

In the year under review, HRCSL visited Pademba Road, Bo, and Moyamba prisons. Conditions in the prisons continued to pose a challenge in the administration of justice in the country. Overcrowding (HRCSL found staff offices and the sick bay in the female section of Pademba Road prison being used to hold prisoners), poor hygienic conditions, inadequate food, lack of water, poor medical facilities, and lack of transportation to ferry detainees to court characterized the prisons, which meant they were below the established national and international standards. In the 2007 State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone report, several recommendations were made by HRCSL on how to improve the condition of prisons nationwide. To date, some improvement has been made by government to address overcrowding, especially at the Pademba Road Prisons which was originally built for 350 prisoners, but currently holds 1,254 prisoners. Water shortage in the prisons visited, and in the north, continued to be a major concern. HRCSL, on several occasions, drew the attention of the government to the persistent water shortage at the Pademba Road Prisons, and today there has been some improvement. In Pujehun, during the dry season, prisoners were forced to walk long distances to fetch water. Water shortage in prisons is a violation of the rights of prisoners, contravening rules 15 and 20 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners which state that “Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean through the provision of water necessary for health and cleanliness and that “Drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it”. At the national level, section 48 of the Prison Rules (No. 2) of 1961 states that; “the clothes of a prisoner shall be changed and washed at least weekly, and bed clothes shall be washed and aired as often as the Officer-in-Charge may direct”. Sanitary conditions in all prisons were appalling. In the recently-rehabilitated Moyamba prison, the visiting team of HRCSL witnessed prisoners cleaning an over-flowing cesspit with their hands. At Pademba Road, and in Kenema and Pujehun, sanitary buckets used for attending to nature were kept in the cells with the prisoners. In Bo Prisons, toilets and the cesspit overflowed on several occasions. HRCSL views this situation as a health hazard. Several reports made to the appropriate authorities by the Prisons Officers to address this terrible situation proved futile.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Medical facilities in all prisons visited were grossly inadequate. HRCSL was informed that only severe health cases were referred to the government hospitals. In Makeni however, HRCSL was informed that medical supplies were provided to the prison on a quarterly basis. Serious irregularities in food supply were observed. Prisoners reported they were fed only once a day with poor quality food. Prison Watch noted that the delay in payment of government contractors was the cause for the irregular food supply to various prisons. In the case of the prison on Bonthe Island, prisoners’ food supply was deposited in Bo District for onward transmission, which prevented the timely supply of food to the prison. Lack of transportation for prisoners was also a problem. On a number of occasions, high risk prisoners including condemned prisoners, especially from Bo and Makeni, were transferred by public transport. During the period under review, prisoners in the Port Loko State Prison went on hunger strike as a demonstration of their dissatisfaction over the failure of authorities to take them to court. Conditions imposed on prisoners in solitary confinement were particularly harsh. For example in Pujehun prison, a prisoner was kept handcuffed, and at Pademba Road, prisoners slept on the bare floor. Also at Pademba Road Prisons, HRCSL recorded two cases of murder suspects held since 1987 and 2004 respectively, without trial or indictment; this is considered a violation of the prisoners’ right to fair trial within a reasonable time or release. In Kabala and Pujehun prisons, detainees continued to suffer from delay in trials, due to the poor attendance of Magistrates in the said locations. HRCSL considered this also a violation of the prisoners’ right to fair trial. Children of convicted lactating mothers were found in Makeni, Freetown, and Kenema Prisons, with no special provision made for them. Despite pressure from local and international organizations for the abolition of the death penalty, it was still part of the laws of Sierra Leone. At the beginning of the year, 23 prisoners were on death row; however, because the Court of Appeal allowed the appeals of eleven men who had been sentenced to death for treason, the number was reduced to 12. HRCSL noted the infrastructural rehabilitation of the perimeter fence and the construction of new quarters for prison officers in Makeni, which was completed with support from the JSDP. In Kabala prisons, through the UN Peace Building Fund, prisoners were supplied with beds, mattresses, and other items. New prison facilities for females were constructed in Kenema and Mattru. Prison officers also benefited from training opportunities provided by NGOs working in the field of justice and human rights. Various prisons also received donations from voluntary organizations and individuals. Recommendations: a. Government should allocate sufficient resources for the provision of food, beddings and medicines for prison inmates in a timely manner. 59

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

b. Government should expedite the hearing of cases of remand prisoners with the aim of decongesting the prisons. c. Government should encourage the use of other sentencing options as alternatives to imprisonment. d. Improvement in sanitary conditions should be an area for urgent action. e. To reduce prison over crowding, Government should ensure that people are not imprisoned for their inability to pay debt. f. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to facilitate the ratification and domestication of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture ( OPCAT).

3.1.6.4

Juvenile Justice

Juveniles in conflict with the law continued to suffer undue delay in accessing justice. Court cases for juveniles were delayed due to personnel and logistical constraints contravening the provisions of the CRC and Beijing Rules. There were no dedicated courts for juvenile sittings, and only one Magistrate presided over juvenile cases in the Western Area. Transporting juveniles to court continued to be a major problem, as vehicles attached to the Remand Home almost always had little or no fuel contributing to delay. Section 24 (3) of Cap 44 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960, states that “a young person sentenced to imprisonment shall, so far as circumstances permit, not be allowed to associate with adult prisoners.” Keeping juveniles with adults also contravenes article 7 (b) 11 of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of Children, and Article 10 (2)(b) 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. During a visit to the Approved School, a total of 13 juveniles who had been transferred from Pademba Road Prisons to the Approved School revealed that they had spent approximately 5 – 18 months in the adult prisons before being transferred. Authorities contacted revealed that this was due to the limited number of detention facilities in the country for juvenile offenders. In Makeni, a juvenile was found serving his jail term at the police station in Rogbaneh. Legal aid is enshrined in Section 28 (5) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. Up to 2008 however, no legislation was in place to give effect to this right. Article 14 (3) (d) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article 40 (2) (b ii) 20 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Sierra Leone ratified in 1989, highlight the importance of legal assistance and guidance for juveniles. Defense for Children International, an
11 Ensure that children are separated from adults in their place of detention or imprisonment;… Juvenile offenders shall be segregated from adults and be accorded treatment appropriate to their age and legal status.
12

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  NGO working on juvenile justice-related issues, occasionally provided lawyers for juveniles if informed about the matter. In some cases the Probation Officer from the MSWGCA spoke on behalf of the juveniles. For the most part however juveniles were not provided this very important protection. Section 26 (1) of the Children and Young Persons Act (Cap 44) of the Laws of Sierra Leone empowers the court “to sentence a child or a young person to the custody of an Approved School until the child is 18 years or for any lesser period which must be greater than 2 years; if the young person is over 16 at the time the sentence is made, that child will only be committed until he is 18”. In 2008, there were cases at the Approved School where offenders, already above the age of 16 years, were sentenced to between 3 and 5 years imprisonment. In June 2008, during the presentation of the Second Periodic Report of the Sierra Leonean delegation to the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at its 48th session, the Committee expressed its dissatisfaction on Sierra Leone’s non-compliance with the law, and urged the State Party to ensure that juvenile standards are fully recognized and implemented, particularly in relation to articles 37 (b), 40 and 39 of the CRC, as well as in relation to several other international instruments 13. International instruments like the Beijing Rules (UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice), the Riyadh Guidelines (UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency), etc, make provision for rehabilitation and reintegration of juveniles deprived of their liberty into society. In the year under review, there were only three detention centres for juveniles throughout the country: two Remand Homes, one located in Bo and the other in Freetown, and an Approved School. Conditions in the detention facilities fall below the required standards. Generally, inmates had limited or no access to facilities as required by Rule 2 (12) of the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles deprived of their liberty. In 2008, the CRC Committee in its 48th session, raised concerns over the country’s under-staffed and ill-equipped Remand Homes and Approved School: little or no security, poor educational and recreational facilities for the inmates. The educational facilities for inmates, were assessed to be below Rule 12 standards which states that “Juveniles detained in facilities should be guaranteed the benefit of meaningful activities and programmes which would serve to promote and sustain their health and self-respect, to foster their sense of responsibility and encourage those attitudes and skills that will assist them in developing their potential as members of society”. Although classrooms were available, they were ill-equipped and neither formal nor informal vocational training was undertaken in the school. The Justice Sector Development Programme supplied some furniture and sewing
13

United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules)

United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines)

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  machines for skills training, but there were no other materials to facilitate teaching and learning. However the government has made some strides to provide food regularly. During an inspection visit by HRCSL to the Approved School in Freetown, a staff member of the institution reported that they were constrained to take sick offenders for treatment to the community clinic operated by the government, which often did not have the required drugs. In cases, where the prescribed drugs were not available, juvenile offenders were left to their fate. Solitary confinement is one of the main forms of discipline at the Approved School. It should be noted that such punishment meted out to offenders is degrading and inhuman, according to Rule 67 of the UN Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty which states that “disciplinary measures constituting cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment, placement in dark cells or solitary confinement or any other punishment that would compromise the physical or mental health of the juvenile concern must not be instituted”. At the Kingtom Remand Home, poor educational, sanitary, and health facilities, lack of furniture, children sometimes locked up in small rooms as punishment, poor security, etc, were all common at this facility . NGOs such as Defense for Children International and Youth for Christ continued their support in the area of education, while GOAL, Sierra Leone, an NGO working with street children, continued to take care of medical expenses for juvenile patients referred to the Sierra Leone Police hospital, in certain instances. In April 2008, HRCSL was informed by Remand Home authorities that one of the offenders had used a rope to climb an electric pole close to the fence, and escaped. Another inmate damaged the roof of the room, despite the availability of iron rods at the roof top, forced his way out, and escaped. The non-availability of Remand Homes for children in the provinces (outside of Bo) continues to be of concern. Children in conflict with the law were held in custody with adults in deplorable conditions, before they were sent to Freetown for trial. Recommendations: a. Government should ensure that jail terms for juveniles are computed in accordance with the law to avoid over-detention of juveniles. b. Government should provide timely transportation to facilitate the hearing of juvenile cases in courts. c. The Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs should ensure that adequate provision of food, medicine, educational and recreational facilities are provided for child offenders at the Remand Homes and Approved School. d. Government should urgently construct one Remand Home each in the northern and eastern provinces of the country to prevent juveniles from being detained with adults. e. Educational facilities in Remand Homes in the Freetown and the Southern Province should be improved and maintained in line with the required minimum standards. 62

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

f. Vocational skills training at the Approved School must be provided to meet the rehabilitation needs of inmates. g. Government should take the necessary steps to ensure full implementation of the Child Rights Act, 2007. h. Government should fully implement the recommendations contained in the 2008 Report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Sierra Leone.

3.2

Institutional Capacity Building for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

• The establishment of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Campaign and Secretariat is a welcome development that has potential to become a mechanism for building a national human rights culture. • The local government elections was another milestone in the decentralization process, providing opportunity for fresh impetus for the delivery of basic services and development in local communities. • The year 2008 saw the first-ever national dialogue on disability issues. This Achievement was as a result of sustained public advocacy on disability issues. These efforts culminated in a national consultative conference on the rights of people with disabilities. One object of the dialogue was to validate the draft disability policy and bill on Persons with Disabilities. Disabled persons all over the country took the lead and participated in large numbers, confirming that disability issues have now been accepted as part of the mainstream national agenda. • The appointment of a new Ombudsman signaled the revitalization of the office, and a rekindling of public confidence in the institution. The year saw steps taken to build the capacity of this office to address complaints of administrative injustices and maladministration. HRCSL looks forward to a fruitful partnership with this office, which is also an important player in the human rights landscape.

Recommendations: a. The ABC campaign should adopt a human rights-based approach to its work, develop and utilize human rights messages in its civic education activities, and contribute towards the development of a National Human Rights Action Plan. b. Civil society should ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed, build their capacities for this purpose, and take necessary actions to make their premises, programs, and activities genuinely accessible to Persons With Disabilities.

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3.3

Human Rights Defenders in Sierra Leone

For the most part, civil society organizations continued to operate freely, with little or no government interference. District Human Rights Committees were active in the various regions. They were very instrumental in bringing to the public view, instances in which public officials violated and individuals abused citizens’ rights. In Makeni for example, CSOs brought to the attention of the police, a case where an under-aged girl was forced by her parents to marry a much older man. It was an act that contravened the CRC. Cso’s also called on the police to investigate an alleged case of police brutality. In the eastern and southern regions, they spoke against exorbitant prices charged on by medical officers in hospitals. CSOs working on mining issues were instrumental in speaking up against abuses of mining companies relating to treatment of workers and the continued destruction of arable land. In September, HRCSL co-organized a workshop on ‘Human Rights Approach to Detention Management’ with Prison Watch. This was in addition to an earlier training programme on Prisons Monitoring provided by Prison Watch for HRCSL Commissioners and staff. However, there were reports that organizations campaigning against FGC, were hampered in carrying out their activities in Makeni and Kenema, by certain members who were opposed to their advocacy. Increasing regulation of NGOs by the Ministry of Finance and Development, threatened the autonomy and independence of civil society organizations. The proposed government policy paper on NGO registration and operations has been subject to critical review by civil society organizations who have expressed serious concerns and made alternate proposals. Recommendations: a. Human rights organizations should build on their capacities to monitor and report on human rights situation in Sierra Leone. b. District Human Rights Committees should be empowered to function as a coordinating and networking body for human rights organizations at district and chiefdom levels.

3.4

Important Initiatives in furtherance of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights

3.4.1 Implementation of the TRC Recommendations
For the year under review, HRCSL noted the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the amendment to the Anti-Corruption Act and the NaCSA Act. It also noted

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  the commencement of the reparations programme, as partial implementation of the TRC recommendations. HRCSL observed that contrary to the TRC recommendations on reparations, the ongoing Reparations Programme prioritises the provision of housing over payment of pensions. HRCSL also noted that the public apology by the President to women for the harm suffered during the war, as recommended by the TRC, is still outstanding. In 2008, CSOs continued to call on government to implement the recommendations of the TRC. “Fambul Tok’ (Family dialogue), a face-to-face community healing programme aimed at continuing the reconciliation process begun by the TRC, was initiated by Forum of Conscience. This programme does not only create an opportunity for dialogue between victims and perpetrators, but it also complements NaCSA’s Reparations Programme, especially in the area of symbolic reparations. The visit of Libyan President Col. Muammar Gaddaffi, sparked controversy and gave rise to public debates on Libya’s role in the Sierra Leone conflict, and TRC’s recommendations related to Libya. This led to increased public demand for wider dissemination of the findings and recommendations of the TRC and its speedy implementation. The international community, through the United Nations Peace Building Fund, has provided financial support totalling three million US dollars to the Reparations programme. This fund also allocated the sum of $1,522,055.70 for the operationalization of the Human Rights Commission, thereby fulfilling a key imperative recommendation of the TRC report. Recommendations: a. The President should make good on his commitment to set up the TRC Follow-Up Committee, without any further delay. b. Government, especially the President as father of the nation, should make a public apology to the people of Sierra Leone, and to women in particular. c. Government should expedite the launching of the Special Fund for War Victims and commit itself fully to the Reparations Programme especially with respect to its initial contribution and annual budgetary allocations. d. Government should (with reference to paragraph 413 & 432 of chpt 3, vol 2, of the TRC report) urge Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to publicly acknowledge their roles in promoting the RUF in Sierra Leone, and “provide monetary support to the War Victims Fund and to support reconciliation initiatives within Sierra Leone”.

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Part 4 – Recommendations 4.1
4.1.1
4.1.1.1

Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Civil and Political Rights
Right to Life, Liberty, and Security of the Person, and the Death Penalty

Recommendations: a. Government must make 50% reduction of current high levels of maternal and `infant mortality an immediate national priority. Adequate resources and efforts including the provisions of accurate information and data to the public should be directed in achieving this reduction in the shortest possible time. b. Civil society organizations are encouraged to undertake research on reasons for the persistent high levels of infant and maternal mortality and make recommendations for the consideration of stakeholders. c. Government should ensure the availability of comprehensive health services including drugs, ambulances, doctors and other health personnel in all hospitals and health centers throughout the country, especially for women and children. d. Government must implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations for the abolition of the death penalty; commutation of all death sentences to life imprisonment and continue to adhere to the moratorium on executions. 4.1.1.2 Protection from Deprivation of Property

Recommendations: a. Government is urged to expedite the development and implementation of a properly organized system of land transfer across the country. b. Allocation of government land by the Ministry of Lands should be transparent and nondiscriminatory and ensure that marginalized and vulnerable groups benefit from such allocation. c. The Ministry of Local Government, through the Decentralization Secretariat (DecSec) should intensify the training needs of chiefs, regarding their roles and responsibilities, especially with regards to land management, and handling of land and property disputes. d. In order to resolve the continued land disputes, the Ministry of Lands should review its policies, revise them if need be, and work with other state agencies, like the police, to ensure that the laws and policies are strictly adhered to.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  4.1.1.3 Freedom of Expression and the Press

Recommendations: a. Government should leave the oversight and regulation of the media to the IMC and refrain from unwarranted interference with media institutions. b. Government should expedite the process of transforming the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service into an independent public service broadcasting corporation and ensure that the process is transparent and participatory at all levels. c. The IMC should be strengthened to supervise and monitor the operations of the media. d. Parliament should take immediate steps to repeal the seditious libel provisions in the Public Order Act, 1965 and enact the Freedom of Information bill. e. Government should ensure that it strengthens accessibility and effectiveness of civil remedies for defamation and invasion of privacy. 4.1.1.4 Freedom of Assembly/Association

Recommendations: a. The police should be encouraged to continue to maintain independence and impartiality at all times, and to avoid the use of force except where absolutely necessary, bearing in mind the principle of proportionality. b. NEC, PPRC and NCD should increase public education on political tolerance and the right to participation in public affairs. c. Political parties should encourage, embrace and practice pluralism and diversity. d. PPRC should foster/encourage internal democracy and openness within political parties. e. PPRC and political parties should ensure that their code of conduct is enforced at all times and not only during elections.

4.1.2 Economic, Social Cultural and Rights
4.1.2.1 Right to Education

Recommendations: a. To ensure that all children access compulsory free primary education, government should pay all teachers, especially those in the provinces and on time. b. Government should provide the schools with prompt and regular grants and at the same time ensure that all unofficial school charges which undermine free primary education are eradicated. 67

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

c. Government should undertake intensive sensitization of the 2004 Education Act, especially on the right of children to acquire basic education. d. Government should enforce compulsory primary education to ensure that every child is engaged in full time primary education. Special steps should be taken to ensure street children and children with disabilities enjoy this right. e. Local Councils should continue to popularize and enforce their bye–laws pertaining to education. f. Government should provide basic teaching and learning materials to facilitate the teaching of disable children. g. Government should provide training for more teachers in special needs education.

4.1.2.2

Right to Health

Recommendations: a. Government should, as a matter of urgency, fulfill its obligation to provide the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for citizens. b. Government should equip existing peripheral health clinics with the necessary drugs and medical equipment. c. Government should ensure the availability of comprehensive health services including drugs, ambulances, doctors and other health personnel in all hospitals and health centers throughout the country, especially for women, children, disabled and the aged.

d. Government should look into the conditions of service for medical personnel with the aim of improving them. e. Government should put emphasis on recruiting more qualified medical personnel. f. Government should take action to provide free health care for pregnant women. g. Government should put monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure the judicious use of its resources allocated to the Ministry of Health. h. Parliament should take immediate steps to amend the Prevention and Control of HIV& AIDS Act 2007 to take account of gender and human rights concerns.

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4.1.2.3

Human Rights Concerns in Mining Activities

Recommendations: a. Government should review all mining laws, policies and contracts to ensure they fulfill and promote human rights, corporate social responsibility and the protection of ecosystems, biodiversity and the environment. b. Government should immediately enforce policies and laws relating to the elimination of hazardous activities in all mining areas. c. Government should take all steps necessary to enforce the prohibition against child mining. d. Government should take urgent action to provide children with educational and training opportunities that will deter them from engaging in mining activities. e. The employers in the mining sector should improve standards and conditions of of employees. service

f. Government should speedily implement the recommendations of the Jenkins Johnston Commission of Inquiry. g. Government should ratify ILO Convention 138 (1973) concerning the minimum age for admission to employment and ILO Convention 182 (1999) concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

4.1.3

Women’s Rights

Recommendations: a. The Sierra Leone Police should be resourced to establish well equipped and functioning FSUs in every Police Station in the country. b. The Inspector General should ensure that serving police officers at all levels (including Executive Management Board) are provided with regular and adequate training to respond appropriately to gender-based violence issues. c. Government should take steps to seek out and provide resources for speedy implementation of the Strategic Roll-Out Plan for Implementation of the three Gender laws. d. Government should implement the 30% quota for women in politics and public office, and ensure its inclusion in the proposed new Constitution. e. Government should increase subvention to the MSWGCA, to respond more effectively to women’s rights issues, particularly implementation of the concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee. 69

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

f. Sierra Leone Police and Ministry of Health and Sanitation should take immediate action to improve services provided by Police Medical Officers and to ensure that all victims of gender based violence are promptly examined and provided with medical reports free of charge and without delay.

4.1.4 Children’s Rights
Recommendations: a. Government should undertake an in-depth study of the phenomenon of teenage pregnancy and all its implications, with the view to developing a comprehensive policy and strategies for its eradication. b. HRCSL calls for urgent united action by government, traditional leaders and communities to address the menace of teenage pregnancy. c. Government, communities, and schools should provide the necessary information and support system to adolescents and teenagers to address the growing problem of teenage pregnancy. d. Government should take concrete steps, including consultation with stakeholders, public education, encouragement of a non-politicized public debate and enactment of legislation to address FGC. e. Parliament should expedite the repeal of Section 2 (2) of the Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act 2007 that permits the marriage of persons aged below 18 years. f. Government should take immediate action to implement the recommendations and directions contained in the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the Second Periodic Report on Sierra Leone, May 2008, and also disseminate the report widely.

4.1.5 Vulnerable Groups 4.1.5.1 Persons with Disabilities
Recommendation: Parliament, MSWGCA and Ministry of Justice should make ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, enactment of the draft bill on disability into law and the development of a costed roll-out implementation plan, a priority for action in 2009.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  4.1.5.1.1 Access to Health

a.

Recommendations: Curriculum for the training of health workers should include sections on the special needs of PWDs. Government should prioritise training and recruitment of mental health care personnel and increase support for this sector to ensure retention of mental health care professionals. Government should invest more resources in the prevention of diseases that cause physical and mental disabilities. Access to Education

b.

c.

4.1.5.1.2

a.

Recommendations: Government should ensure that all educational centers, both private and public, are physically accessible to PWDs, as provided for in the CRPD, and equipped with appropriate teaching and learning materials. The government should institute a policy that will create more educational opportunities for PWDs. Government should increase the support for special needs schools, and encourage the recruitment of Special Needs Teachers. Access to Justice

b.

c.

4.1.5.1.3

a.

Recommendations: Government should ensure the inclusion of information on special needs in the training curriculum of law enforcement agencies. Government should work towards restructuring the legal system so that it will accommodate people with people with special needs. Political Participation of PWDs

b.

4.1.5.1.4

Recommendations: Government should create an environment whereby every citizen would have equal opportunity to exercise their right to vote and equally participate in national affairs.

4.1.6 Human Rights in the Administration of Justice 4.1.6.1 The Sierra Leone Police
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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

a.

Recommendations: The Police should intensify community policing initiatives nationwide to deepen public confidence. Continued training should be provided to ensure that police officers maintain the highest levels of professionalism and neutrality in carrying out their official functions, especially at public events. Government should recruit more police officers to enable the SLP to combat rising levels of lawlessness and crime. The Inspector General of Police should collaborate with HRCSL to educate the public on citizens’ rights to demonstrate and process in public. The Inspector General should direct police officers conducting investigations to detain suspects for the shortest possible time necessary and strictly in accordance with the law. Government should continue to improve the conditions of police detention facilities across the country in line with international standards. Use of force by police should be kept to a minimum, used as a last resort only when necessary and proportional to the threat faced by the police. Government with the assistance of international partners should establish a well equipped library for use by prosecutors and investigators. Government should review the Police Act of 1964, the structure and operations of the CDIID to increase overall effectiveness, impartiality, accountability and independence of the police.

b.

c.

d.

e.

f.

g.

h.

i.

4.1.6.2
a.

The Court System

Recommendations: Government should ensure that steps are taken to increase supervision and monitoring of state counsel and magistrates assigned around the country. Additional magistrates should be sent to other districts depending on the case load. The Ministry of Local Government should intensify its training of local courts personnel on local courts procedures and jurisdiction. The Ministry of Local Government should take urgent action to curb the excesses of the ‘lesser courts’.

b. c.

d.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  e. Government should intensify public consultation and debate on the proposed new legislation on the local courts and expedite passage of the bill by parliament. Temporary backlog courts should be re-introduced when necessary.

f.

4.1.6.3
a.

The Sierra Leone Prisons
Recommendations: Government should allocate sufficient resources for the provision of food, beddings and medicines for prison inmates in a timely manner. Government should expedite the hearing of cases of remand prisoners with the aim of decongesting the prisons. Government should encourage the use of other sentencing options as alternatives to imprisonment. Improvement in sanitary conditions should be an area for urgent action. To reduce prison over crowding, Government should ensure that people are not imprisoned for their inability to pay debt. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation should facilitate the ratification and domestication of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture ( OPCAT).

b.

c.

d. e.

f.

4.1.6.4
a.

Juvenile Justice

Recommendations: Government should ensure that jail terms for juveniles are computed in accordance with the law to avoid over-detention of juveniles. Government should provide timely transportation to facilitate the hearing of juvenile cases in courts. The Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs should ensure that adequate provision of food, medicine, educational and recreational facilities are provided for child offenders at the Remand Homes and Approved School. Government should urgently construct one Remand Home each in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country to prevent juveniles from being detained with adults. Educational facilities in Remand Homes in the Freetown and the Southern Province should be improved and maintained in line with the required minimum standards.

b.

c.

d.

e.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  f. Vocational skills training at the Approved School must be provided to meet the rehabilitation needs of the inmates. Government should take the necessary steps to ensure full implementation of the Child Rights Act 2007. Government should fully implement the recommendations contained in the 2008 Report of the Committee on the Rights of the Child on Sierra Leone.

g.

h.

4.2

Institutional Capacity Building for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Recommendations: The ABC campaign should adopt a human rights-based approach to its work, develop and utilize human rights messages in its civic education activities, and contribute towards the development of a National Human Rights Action Plan. Civil society should ensure that disability issues are mainstreamed, build their capacities for this purpose, and take necessary actions to make their premises, programs, and activities genuinely accessible to Persons With Disabilities.

a.

b.

4.3
a.

Human Rights Defenders in Sierra Leone
Recommendations: Human rights organizations should build on their capacities to monitor and report on human rights situation in Sierra Leone. District Human Rights Committees should be empowered to function as a coordinating and networking body for human rights organizations at district and chiefdom levels.

b.

4.4

Important Initiatives in Furtherance of the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights

4.4.1 Implementation of the TRC Recommendations
a. Recommendations: The President should make good on his commitment to set up the TRC Follow-Up Committee, without any further delay. Government, especially the President as father of the nation, should make a public apology to the people of Sierra Leone and to women in particular.

b.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  c. Government should expedite the launching of the Special Fund for War Victims and commit itself fully to the Reparations Programme especially with respect to its initial contribution and annual budgetary allocations. Government should (with reference to paragraph 413 & 432 of chpt. 3, vol. 2, of the TRC report) urge Libya, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to publicly acknowledge their roles in promoting RUF in Sierra Leone, and “provide monetary support to the War Victims Fund and to support reconciliation initiatives within Sierra Leone”.

d.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

FAITHFULLY SUBMITTED BY THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE

SIGNATURE

JAMESINA E. L. KING

-

COMMISSIONER

…………………….

EDWARD SAM

-

COMMISSIONER

…………………….

YASMIN JUSU – SHERIFF -

COMMISSIONER

…………………….

MOSES KHANU

-

COMMISSIONER

…………………….

JOSEPH STANLEY

-

COMMISSIONER

…………………….

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 
Appendices Appendix 1 HRCSL Act

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE ACT, 2004 ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS Section PART I–PRELIMINARY 1. Interpretation PART II–ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION 2. Establishment of Commission. 3. Composition of Commission. 4. Tenure of members. 5. Immunity of members and staff of Commission. 6. Meetings of Commission. PART III–FUNCTIONS OF COMMISSION 7. Functions of Commission. 8. Powers of Commission. 9. Access to government offices and information. 10. Duty of impartiality, etc. 11. Payment of compensation to human rights victims. 12. Amicus briefs by Commission. 13. Government obligation to respond to remedial actions. 14. Independence of Commission. 15. Commission’s rules of procedure. 16. Exclusion of jurisdiction. 17. Committees of Commission. PART IV–ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS 18. Executive Secretary and deputy. 19. Other staff of Commission. 20. Decentralization. 21. Funds of Commission. 22. Accounts and audit. 23. Financial year of Commission 24. Annual report of Commission. 25. Amendment of Act No. 15 of 1994. 26. Regulations.
Interpretation.

SIGNED this 20th day of August, 2004 ALHAJI AHMAD TEJAN KABBAH, President.

No. 9 2004 Sierra Leone

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Act, 2004
Being an Act to establish a commission for the protection and promotion of human rights in Sierra Leone and to provide for other related matters. [26th August, 2004] Date of commencement. ENACTED by the President and Members of Parliament in this present Parliament assembled.

Act No. 6 of 1991.

Establishment of Commission.

1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires– “Chairman” means the Chairman of the Commission; “Commission” means the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone established by section 2; “Constitution” means the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991; “Executive Secretary” means the Executive Secretary appointed under section 18; “human rights” includes the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual protected or guaranteed by the

2) The Commission shall be a body corporate, having perpetual succession and capable of acquiring, holding and disposing of any property, whether movable or immovable, and of suing and being sued in its corporate name and, subject to this Act, of performing all such acts as bodies corporate may by law perform. (3) The Commission shall have a common seal the use of which shall be authenticated by the signatures of the chairman or the ViceChairman and the Executive Secretary or by any other members, designated in
Composition Of Commission.

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Constitution or embodied in the international conventions, treaties and other agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party; “violation” includes a contravention, a negation and neglect or negligence by a public officer in the prevention of a violation; “member” means a member of the Commission. that behalf by the Commission. 3. (1) The Commission shall consist of a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman and three other members all of whom shall be appointed by the President, subject to the approval of Parliament, after they have been selected in accordance with the procedures prescribed in the Schedule. (2) The members of the Commission shall be appointed from among persons – (a) of high moral probity who have so distinguished themselves in their respective fields as to command the respect of the public; (b) of proven record of respect for, and interest in human rights; (c) well-versed in the rights contained in Chapter III of the Constitution and familiar with the international conventions, treaties and other agreements relating to human rights: Provided that the members shall include at least two lawyers and two women.

PART II–ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMISSION 2. (1) There is hereby established a commission to be known as the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone.

Tenure of members

(3) Where a temporary vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission because of the death, disability, resignation or dismissal of a member, the President shall appoint a replacement from among the short-listed persons considered by the Selection Panel referred to in the Schedule, taking into account the proviso to subsection (2). 4. (1) The Chairman, the Vice-Chairman and other members of the Commission shall hold office in their personal capacities for a period of five years and shall be eligible for reappointment for another period of five years, but no person shall be eligible for reappointment after the expiration of a second term of office. (2) A member shall, after his appointment has been

(f) the member resigns by written notice addressed to the President; (g) the member is dismissed or removed in accordance with the conditions stipulated in subsection (7) of section 137 of the Constitution as if he were a Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature. (4) The members of the Commission, including the Chairman and Vice-Chairman , shall work full-time and shall be paid such salaries, allowances and other benefits as shall be determined by Parliament: Provided that the salary, allowances or other benefit of a member shall not be altered to his disadvantage during his term of office. 5. No action, suit or other legal proceeding shall lie against any person who is or was a member or employee of the Commission in respect of any

Immunity of members and staff of Commission. Tenure of members.

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approved by Parliament, relinquish any other post or appointment, whether in the Government, the Judiciary, as a Member of Parliament or in any other employment. (3) A vacancy in the Commission shall occur if– (a) a member’s term expires, whether initially or after reappointment; (b) a member dies or is so physically or mentally incapacitated as to be unable to perform the functions of his office; (c) a member becomes bankrupt or insolvent; (d) the member wilfully fails or refuses to participate in the work of the Commission without due cause; (e) the member becomes a member of a political party; (5) The Commission may at any time coopt any person to advise or otherwise assist the Commission at any of its meetings but the person coopted shall not vote on any matter for decision by the Commission. (6) All acts, matters or things authorized or required to be done by the Commission shall be decided at a meeting where a quorum is present and the decision is supported by the votes of at least three members. (7) Any proposal circulated among all members and agreed to in writing by three members shall be of the same force or effect as a decision made at a duly constituted meeting of the Commission and shall be incorporated in the minutes of the next succeeding meeting of the Commission:– Provided that, if a member requires that such proposal be placed before a meeting of the Commission, this subsection shall not apply to such proposal. (8) The Commission shall cause minutes of all of its meetings to be taken and kept as a public record. PART III–FUNCTIONS OF COMMISSION 7. (1) The object for which the decision taken or any act done or omitted to be done in good faith in the performance of any function under this Act. 6. (1) The Commission shall meet at such time and place as the Chairman shall determine. (2) At a meeting of the Commission where he is present, the Chairman shall preside and, in his absence, the Vice-Chairman or other member elected by the members present shall preside. (3) The quorum at a meeting of the Commission shall be three. (4) Each member shall have one vote but in the case of an equality of votes, the Chairman or person presiding shall have a casting vote.

Meetings of Commission.

Functions of Commission.

(b) promote respect for human rights, through – (i) public awareness and education programmes aimed at creating a culture of human rights in Sierra Leone; (ii) providing human rights information, including locating within the Commission a national human rights resource and documentation centre; (iii) publishing guidelines, manuals and other materials explaining the obligations of public officials in the protection of human rights; (iv) effective co-operation with nongovernmental organisations and other public - interest bodies engaged in the field of human rights; (c) review existing legislation and advise the Government concerning compliance by such legislation with the obligations of Sierra Leone under international treaties or agreements; (d) advise the Government concerning draft legislation, which may affect human rights; (e) advise Government concerning preparation of periodic reports required by international

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Commission is established is the protection and promotion of human rights in Sierra Leone. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), it shall be the function of the Commission to– (a) investigate or inquire into on its own or on complaint by any person any allegations of human rights violations and to report thereon in writing; (f) monitor and document violations of human rights in Sierra Leone; (g) publish an annual report on the State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone. 8. (1) For the purposes of any investigation under this Act, the Commission shall have– (a) such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in the High Court of Justice or a judge thereof in a trial in respect of – (i) enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath, affirmation or otherwise; and (ii) compelling the production of documents and other things; and (iii) the issue of a commission or request to examine witnesses abroad; and the Rules of Court shall, with the necessary modification, apply to the exercise of the powers, rights and privileges of the Commission conferred by this subsection; (b) the power to issue or make orders or directions to enforce its decisions, including measures to protect the life and safety of an individual and free medical treatment where necessary; (c) power to refer to the High Court for contempt any person who refuses, without justifiable cause, to comply with a decision, direction or order human rights treaties or agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party;

Powers of Commission.

(2) The oath or affirmation referred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (l) shall be administered by the Chairman or any other member or staff of the Commission authorized in that behalf by the Chairman. (3) Any person who is aggrieved by any decision of the Commission made in a report under paragraph (a) of sub-section (2) of section 7, may appeal to the Supreme Court against such decision. 9. (1) A member of the Commission or any person authorized in that behalf by such member, shall have access to all government offices, facilities and places of detention, including prisons, police cells, remand homes and probation facilities, in order to investigate a human rights matter initiated by the Commission or brought to the attention of the Commission as well as access to any nonclassified information in government documents. (2) Where the President certifies that the giving of any information or the answering of any question or the production of any document or thing might prejudice the security or defence of Sierra Leone, the prevention, investigation or detection of offences, or the proceedings of Cabinet relating to matters of a secret or confidential nature, or that the disclosure would be injurious to the public interest, the Commission shall have the power to refer the matter concerned to the Supreme Court, which shall determine whether the document or other information shall be disclosed, produced or withheld. (3) Subject to subsection (2), nothing in any law which authorizes or requires the withholding of any document, or the refusal to answer any question on the ground that the production of the document or the answering of the question would be injurious to the public interest shall apply to any investigation or inquiry by the Commission.

Access to Government offices and information. Duty of impartiality, etc.

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Payment of compensation to human rights victims.

Amicus briefs by Commission.

Government obligation to respond to remedial actions.

Independence of Commission.

Commission’s rules of procedure.

(a) be impartial and fair in the conduct of any investigation or inquiry under this Act; (b) report in writing the result of the investigation or inquiry; and (c) furnish in the report, the reasons for the conclusions reached or reported. (2) In publishing the report of any investigation, the Commission shall have due regard to the rights of those affected, including their rights to privacy. 11. It shall be lawful for the Commission in its report on an investigation, to recommend the payment of compensation for victims of human rights violations, their families or legal representatives and also to award costs in appropriate cases. 12. The Commission may, where it finds it necessary, appoint a legal practitioner of not less than five years’ standing, to intervene, with leave of the court, in legal proceedings in cases which involve human rights issues over which the Commission has competence but such intervention shall be restricted to issuing amicus curiae briefs dealing with the matter in question. 13. The Government shall respond publicly and within 21 days to the specific case as well as in the more general finding, conclusion, recommendation or other decision made by the Commission as the remedy for a violation of human rights. 14. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, in the exercise of its functions under this Act, the Commission shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority. 15. The Commission may, by statutory instrument, make rules of procedure, consistent with the

10. (1) The Commission shall– (a) the filing of human rights complaints by victims, legal representatives or families of victims, state or non-state or any other party or member of the public; (b) the admissibility of complaints; (c) the proof of facts; (d) examination of witnesses; (e) representation by legal practitioners, and other related matters; (f) the payment of any compensation under section 11 and the rendering of financial assistance, including legal aid, to indigent citizens of Sierra Leone who are victims of human rights violations. 16. The Commission’s power of investigation under this Act shall not include the investigation of any matter– (a) pending before, or already decided by a court of competent jurisdiction; or (b) involving any human rights violation that occurred before the coming into operation of this Act. 17. (1) For the efficient performance of its functions and so as to facilitate a thorough study and research into all the substantive issues within its jurisdiction, the Commission shall appoint at least four committees each headed by a member of the Commission wellversed in the subject-matter assigned to the committee concerned, including a committee for the promotion and protection of the human rights of women and children.

Exclusion of Jurisdiction

Committees of Commmission.

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rules of natural justice, for the conduct of investigations or inquiries into human rights, including-

Executive Secretary and deputy.

(2) A committee appointed under subsection (l) shall consist of persons with the relevant knowledge and experience in the subject matter assigned to the committee and may invite to its meetings specialists in various human rights fields either as resource persons or in such other capacity as the committee shall determine (3) Any report issued by any committee of the Commission shall, after consideration and authorization by the Commission, be considered an official report of the Commission. PART IV–ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS 18. (1) The Commission shall have an Executive Secretary who shall be appointed by the Commission after consultation with the Public Service Commission. (2) The Executive Secretary shall hold office for a term of five years upon such terms and conditions as shall be determined by the Commission and shall be eligible for reappointment for one term only of another five years but no person shall be appointed Executive Secretary unless he has– (a) formal qualification in any profession relevant or appropriate to the functions of the Commission; and (b) such proven ability in public administration and management as the Commission may determine. (3) The Executive Secretary shall not be removed from office, except for reasons which would justify his removal from the public service. (4) The Executive Secretary shall be responsible to the Commission for–

(a) the day-to-day administration of the Commission; (b) the supervision and discipline of the other staff of the Commission; (c) the arrangement of the business and the recording and keeping of the minutes of the meetings of the Commission; (d) the initiation and maintenance of high-level contacts or relations with local interest groups and international human rights bodies or institutions, and (e) performance of such other functions as the Commission may assign to him. (5) The Executive Secretary shall attend all substantive meetings and deliberations of the Commission but shall not be entitled to vote. (6) In the performance of his functions under this Act, the Executive Secretary shall be assisted principally by a Deputy Executive Secretary who shall be appointed by the Commission upon such terms and conditions as shall be determined by the Commission. 19. (1) The Commission shall have, in addition to the Executive Secretary and the Deputy Executive Secretary, such other staff, including a wide variety of professionals and support staff, as may be required for the efficient performance of the Commission’s functions, the number of which shall be determined by the Commission, taking into account the budget at the disposal of the Commission.

Other staff of Commission

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(2) The Commission may delegate to the Executive Secretary power for the appointment of such grade or categories of staff as the Commission may determine. 20. (1) The Commission shall, when funds become available therefore, establish offices in each provincial headquarters, headed by senior officials of the Commission designated by the Executive Secretary for the purpose. (2) It shall be the responsibility of each provincial office to gather information on the human rights situation in the province, accept and process complaints for the consideration of the Commission and undertake, in collaboration with other interested parties, the human rights promotion activities in the province. (3) One member of the Commission shall be charged with responsibility for coordinating the work of the provincial offices and shall, after consultation with the heads of the provincial offices and the Executive Secretary, ensure effective coordination between the provincial offices and the national headquarters. 21. The activities of the Commission shall be financed by a fund consisting of– (a) moneys appropriated by Parliament for the purposes of the Commission; and (b) gifts, grants or donations from any person or authority but only if they are not likely to compromise the independence of the Commission. 22. (1) The Commission shall keep proper books of account and proper records in relation to them in a form approved by the Auditor-General. (2) The books of account kept under subsection (l) shall within three months after the end of each financial year, be audited by the AuditorGeneral or an auditor appointed by him. 23. The financial year of the Commission shall be the same as the financial year of the Government. 24. (1) The Commission shall, within three months after the end of each financial year, submit a report of its activities to the President and Parliament to be entitled “The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone” which shall contain details of– (a) the ways in which the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Constitution and in the international and regional agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party have been observed or violated; (b) the steps taken by the Commission to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, including results of individual complaints investigated and interventions and recommendations made by the Commission or by any of its committees in respect of matters brought before them.
Accounts and audit.

Decentralization.

Financial year Of Commission. Annual report of Commission.

Funds of Commission.

Amendment of Act No. 15of 1994.

Regulations.

(2) Any report submitted under subsection (l) shall thereafter be published for the information of the public. 25. The National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights Act, 1994 is amended– (a) by the repeal and replacement of the short title thereof with the following:– “The National Commission for Democracy

The President, through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, shall invite nominations from the public. The list of nominees shall go through a selection panel comprising one representative from the Government and each of the following umbrella organizations; (a) Inter-Religious Council; (b) National Forum for Human Rights; (c) Civil Society Movement; (d) Council of Paramount Chiefs;

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Act, 1994"; (b) by the repeal and replacement of the long title with the following:– “Being an Act to establish the National Commission for Democracy and to provide for other related matters”; (c) in subsection (l) of section 3, by the repeal of paragraphs (e) and (f). 26. The Commission may, by statutory instrument, make regulations for giving effect to this Act. S C H E D U L E (Section 3 (1)) Procedure for the Appointment of Members of Commission. The appointment of the members of the Commission shall follow the following procedure:– Once the five members of the Commission appointed by the President have been approved by Parliament their names shall be published in the Gazette. Upon the appointment of the members of the Commission they shall assemble to elect by simple majority from among themselves a Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Passed in Parliament this 30th day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand and four. J. A. CARPENTER, Clerk of Parliament. THIS PRINTED IMPRESSION has been carefully compared by me with the Bill which has passed Parliament and found by me to be a true and correct printed copy of the said Bill. J. A. CARPENTER, Clerk of Parliament. (e) Sierra Leone Women’s Forum; and (f) Sierra Leone Labour Congress. The selection panel shall include at least two women. Each member of the selection panel shall short-list one candidate. The name of the 7 short-listed candidates shall be published in the Gazette and two weeks later, the selection panel shall invite the President to appoint 5 of the short-listed candidates for approval by Parliament. In selecting persons for appointment by the President, the selection panel shall give consideration to equitable gender and regional representation. At least two members of the Commission should be women. Members of the Commission must be people well-versed in the rights contained in Chapter III of the Constitution of Sierra Leone and familiar with international instruments relating to human rights. At least two of the members must be lawyers.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Appendix 2

Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone List of Staff Recruited in 2008 Name Vandie Nabie Sylvia George-Williams Ebun Thorpe Pastor Mohamed K. Beah Ibrahim Bangura Joe Patrick Amara Lucian P.S. Caulker Henry M. Sheku Sidney Harding Samuella J. Conteh Annisatu Sesay Cyphas Williams Joseph Conteh Richard T. M’Bayo Abdulai Y. Bangura Clifford B. Morgan Patricia Ndanema Sonnia Kabba Mohamed T. Fofanah Hassan S. Yarjah Gloria E.M. Bayoh Patrick James Taylor Josephine Thompson –Shaw Abdul Latiff Bakarr Hassan Bangura Lahai Koroma Ibrahim B.S. Kamara Ibrahim Kamara Ibrahim Barrie Mohamed L Jalloh Abu Bakarr Kamara Moses S. Kallon Designation Director CILS * Director ECT Director Fin & Admin Human Resource Officer Senior Human Rights Officer * Programme Officer * Complaints Registrar Public Information Officer Accounts Officer * Senior Administrative Assistant Administrative Assistant Human Rights Officer -South Human Rights Officer-East Human Rights Officer Human Rights Officer-North Human Rights Officer-West Human Rights Officer Human Rights Officer Human Rights Officer Human Rights Officer Gender & Child Rights Officer Different Abilities & Non-Discrimination Officer Truth & Reconciliation Liaison Officer Bailiff/Office Assistant * Office Assistant Driver Driver Driver Driver Driver Lib./Archivist Driver Date Started 01/02/08 01/02/08 01/07/08 01/02/08 01/02/08 01/02/08 01/02/08 01/02/08 1/03/2008 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 01/04/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 02/06/08 1/09/08 1/12/08

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Resignations: 1. Ibrahim Bangura, Senior Human Rights Officer - 2008 2. Sidney Harding, Accounts Officer - 2008 3. Joe Patrick Amara, Programme Officer - 2009 4. Vandie Nabie, Director-CILS - 2009 5. Abdul Latiff Bakarr, Bailiff/Office Assistant - 2009.

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Appendix 3

WORKING VISIT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO H.E. THE PRESIDENT DR. ERNEST BAI KOROMA ON 17TH OCTOBER 2008 AT STATE HOUSE YOUR EXCELLENCY, The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone is pleased to pay another working visit to you today. Unfortunately one of the Commissioners Rev. Moses Khanu is unavoidably absent as he is hospitalized. We are sure that you join us in wishing him a speedy recovery. Let me start by expressing the Commission’s appreciation to you for making time to meet and talk with us. You will recall that we were here last year in October for a similar working visit and it is the Commission’s hope that we are now establishing a trend and tradition of such regular working visits at least once in every year. We will of course call on you on other occasions during the year as the exigencies of the time and our statutory obligations require but we look forward to meeting with you in October each year for frank discussions on human rights issues. For today’s visit we start by introducing to you, Commissioner Aliro Omara of the Uganda Human Rights Commission who is now with us as an Institutional Development Adviser. Commissioner Omara has a wealth of experience having served in his Commission for about 10 years, he is also no stranger to the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone as he has been involved and was here representing the OHCHR during the selection process of Commissioners and in March 2007 he also conducted a two week induction training for Commissioners in Makomp Lunsar after we were sworn in office. His presence here is supported by the UNPBF/HRCSL PBF Project. Another important purpose of our visit is to once again to call on the government to immediately set up the TRC Follow Up Committee. This is even more crucial at this stage as NACSA is in the process of implementing the reparations program. As a Commission we have been to a certain extent carrying out some of the functions of the TRC Follow Up committee in terms of nationwide advocacy on the recommendations; and, in collaboration with UNIOSIL we organized, last year, a national consultative meeting on the status of implementation of the recommendations, and consultations with stakeholders within government and civil society to ensure implementation. Internally we have recruited a TRC Liaison Officer, volunteered to host the TRC Follow Up Secretariat within our premises and taken custody of the TRC Archives and the TRC National Vision exhibits. However, notwithstanding the above, we have repeatedly called on the past government as well as your government to formally establish the TRC Follow Up Committee which we believe is essential for successful implementation of the TRC recommendations in addition to being a legal requirement provided for in section 18 of the TRC Act 2000 and an Imperative recommendation of the TRC that can be found in paragraph 548 at page 204 in Volume II of the TRC Report.

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  According to the TRC Report the composition of the Committee should comprise the HRCSL, representatives of the Togolese government, the U.N, the African Union, ECOWAS, Commonwealth of Nations and 4 representatives of Civil Society Organizations including at least one woman and a youth representative. As a Commission we are willing in collaboration with other interested partners to organize a consultative meeting of Civil Society Organizations early next year so that the 4 representatives of CSOs could be selected. In addition, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we are willing to contact the Togo government, the UN, ECOWAS and Commonwealth for the names of their representatives and will submit a report to you with all the names so that a date can be fixed for the formal ceremony to set up the Follow Up Committee. The HRCSL has some serious concerns on one or two areas of the current NACSA led Reparations plan as we note that the provision of pensions recommended by the TRC has been deferred in favour of prioritizing the provision of houses which was not a recommendation of the TRC Reparations Program. The Commission will be drawing the attention of NACSA and the Reparations Steering Committee to this and other concerns. As indicated earlier, we also wish to have a discussion with you on the human rights situation in the country. In this regard, the Commission will like to focus particularly on matters that arise from the continuing detention and pending prosecution of a number of nationals and non nationals arising from an alleged drug trafficking incident in July 2008. Several issues are raised; the supremacy of the Rule of law, the treatment of detainees, the security of the state and judicial, law enforcement and prisons department personnel, protection of welfare, rights and privileges of convicted prisoners and the role of the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in assuring the application of the provisions of the entrenched clauses in Chapter III of the Constitution. In this light, the Commission is of the view that the matter involving alleged cocaine traffickers should be addressed using a human rights-based approach and in coming to any decisions, the following universal principles should be followed: 1. The Rule of Law is paramount and any act undermining the Rule of Law amounts to a violation of human rights; No one should be charged for an offence that did not exist in law at the date the alleged offence was committed. The principle of Non-Discrimination should be upheld: All suspects and accused persons should be given the same treatment. There should not be differential treatment between citizens and non-citizens; Every person has the right to know the precise nature of the charge being brought against him and to be tried within reasonable time; No one is above the law and in any criminal matter, every person against whom there is sufficient evidence is liable to be charged to court, regardless of nationality, status or connections; 88

2.

3.

4.

5.

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

6.

All rights are equal and indivisible: the rights and security of the cocaine trafficking suspects cannot be a justification for deprivation or violation of the human rights and privileges of prisoners and inmates of Pademba Road Prison and the general public; Law enforcement personnel and judicial staff should be fully secured and protected in carrying out their functions; and, The international community has the same and equal responsibility as the State of Sierra Leone to promote and protect human rights therefore when required, international resources and facilities should be made available to the government of Sierra Leone to protect and promote human rights.

7.

8.

Your Excellency Sir, unfortunately women continue to face insecurity through rape, domestic violence and other forms of physical abuse. The constant subjection of women to assault, victimization and stigmatization has been a trend that is of serious concern to the Commission. Unfortunately, silence and impunity are on the rise mainly because of limited access to justice for women and extra judicial settlement between the victims’ families and perpetrators. This again leads to impunity and perpetrates a vicious cycle of violence against women. The Commission therefore calls on His Excellency to strengthen our capacity to implement the Gender Justice Laws throughout the country and to investigate and document all cases of violence against women. We also want to discuss the all important issue of sustainability of the work of this Commission and to update you on some of its key activities. As you know, the Commission is one of the beneficiaries of the UNPBF and has according to our records, has uniquely achieved 97% level of implementation of the HRCSL/UNPBF project. We are on course to conclude implementation on time by 31st December this year. Our success will mean that next year we require new funds to continue our work or else we risk disappointing the public and de-motivating our young staff who are doing so well. We therefore ask you to intervene to ensure the Commission is given the tools we need to do the work required to promote and protect human rights. Your Excellency Sir I must commend you on your excellent and wide ranging speech to Parliament last Friday even though I must also express our Commissions disappointment at the fact that there was no mention of the Commission’s activities particularly the publication of the maiden edition of its State of Human Rights Report in 2007 which is the first in the history of Sierra Leone. As you know Sierra Leone is subject of constant assessment and report by external actors and we believe that our indigenous effort as a national Commission should always be given the appropriate attention and profile it deserves. Upon enquiry we learnt that this omission was due to some administrative lapses as we did not receive the request that was sent to all institutions for contributions to the speech. I will like to inform you that this Report already presented to the Speaker will be laid before Parliament for debate in the coming weeks. The Commission welcomes your government intention to embark on a number of development projects aimed at attracting private investments which this country needs. Whilst welcoming 89

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  these noble goals the Commission will call on government to always be mindful and adopt the human rights based approach to development which will not isolate or dehumanize or marginalize citizens particularly the poor and helpless of this country. We must not overlook the zeal of public officials and their agents when embarking on implementation which sometimes deprives and violates the rights of individuals. The Commission is willing to work with the government in a spirit of co-operation to ensure that human rights are promoted and protected at all times. In the same vein we wish to inform you about the recent publication of Statutory Instrument No.14 of 2008 which is the Commissions Complaints Investigations and Inquiry Rules 2008 which will govern the Commissions investigations into complaints of human rights violations. Violations as defined by the act include a negation, neglect or negligence by a public officer in the prevention of the violation of a person’s human rights. We undertake to discharge our duties in investigating complaints in a fair, judicial and impartial manner and trust that our recommendations will be implemented so that the rights of individuals guaranteed in the Constitution and international treaties relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individuals are enjoyed and appropriate remedies provided to victims of human rights violations. This year to celebrate international human rights day on the 10th December , we will be having joint celebrations with Anti-Corruption Commission who will also be celebrating AntiCorruption Day on 9th December with a series of activities in all four regions on the theme “the Importance of the fight against corruption in achieving human rights”. We would really like to have your government participation in those programs at the highest level and in this vein HRCSL and ACC are inviting your Excellency to participate in the celebration activity in Bonthe on the 9th, and the Vice President to participate in the activity in Tambaka Chiefdom on the 10t.h. In closing HRCSL affirms our determination to our statutory mission and our willingness to cooperate with all who share this vision for a better Sierra Leone

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  Appendix 4 List of CSOs the Commission Worked With 1. United Nations Populations fund 2. Center for Victims of Torture 3. Legal Access Through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice 4. Society for Democratic Initiatives 5. Campaign for Good Governance 6. Pen Writers 7. Mano River Women Peace Network 8. Network of Women Members of Parliament 9. Sport Writers Association Sierra Leone 10. National AIDS Secretariat 11. Women in the Media Sierra Leone 12. Inter Religious Council 13. Sierra Leone Court Monitoring Programme 14. Advocacy Movement Network 15. Green Scenery 16. Amnesty International 17. West Africa Network for Peace Building 18. Prison Watch Sierra Leone 19. Forum of Conscience 20. Network Movement for Justice and Development. 21. National Forum for Human Rights 22. District Human Rights Committees (in all 12 districts) 23. International Rescue Committee 24. Defence for Children International 25. Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking 26. National Elections Watch 27. Sierra Leone Alliance Against Hunger 28. Young Men’s Christian Association 29. Sierra Leone Association of the Blind

List of Institutions That Participated in HRCSL’s Radio Programs 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Ministry of Information and Communication Save the Children Law Reform Commission UNICEF Coalition for Justice and Accountability Amnesty International International Rescue Committee NacSA (Reparations Programme) 91

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  9. Sierra Leone Association of Journalists 10. Prison Watch –Sierra Leone 11. Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces 12. National Commission for Democracy 13. Sierra Leone Police (Family Support Unit) 14. The Judiciary 15. Disability Awareness Action Group 16. Anti-Corruption Commission 17. Sierra Leone Prisons

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Appendix 5 Letter of Appreciation from Prisons Director

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Appendix 6

Important Visitors to the Commission DATE 22/5/08 22/5/08 22/5/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 Todd Fernandez Bondo R. Dwokapa Tania Martins Fidalgo Uluni Clare Bareebe Rosemary Ngabirano Mohamed Farah Heni Hannes Myburgh Rhoda Igweta Katia Veibiest Michael V,D,Schulenburg Alejandro Avarez Shibani Manotra Robert Mc Couch Rachael Hastings Sammy Jacobs David Mendegila NAME Harro Adt Rolf Saligmann Hans Allden Tshepo Madlirgoz Agwinaldo Mandlate Mesenbet Assefa Japheth Biego Adda Ajua INSTITUTION EUROPEAN German Embassy Head of delegation University of Pretoria University of Pretoria University of Pretoria University of Pretoria University of Pretoria University of Pretoria TITLE Special Rep. Of The EU to the Mano River Basin Ambassador European Commission Delegation Senior Lecturer Faculty Of Law Masters Student ,Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights Faculty Of Law Center For Human Rights MA Student LLM Student LLM Student LLM Student Journalism Student LLM Student & Work With The Kenya-KNCHR Clinician ERSG BCPR,UNDP BCPR,UNDP Programme Evaluation Officer Photographer Project Director -Sub-Saharan Africa Programme Director , Sierra Leone 94

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

University of Pretoria European masters in Venice University Of Pretoria Center For Human Rights , Pretoria Center For Human Rights , Pretoria Pretoria South Africa Center For Human Rights , Pretoria Center For Victims Of Torture (CVT) UN UN UN UN YHRI YHRI YHRI

05/06/08 05/06/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 05/6/08 11/6/08 09/07/08 11/7/08 11/7/08 16/7/08 04/08/08 04/08/08 04/08/08

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008  26 27 28 29 30 31 32 04/08/08 04/08/08 19/08/08 19/08/08 28/10.08 28/10.08 28/10.08 Timothy Bowles Joseph Yarsiah Sarah Margon Shannon Smith Ojok Boniface Okidi Christopher Aloyo Innocent Jessica Violet Fofanah Tolit Atiya Charles YHRI YHRI US Senate US Senate Acholi Cultural Institute ,Uganda Gulu University Justice And Peace Commission Gulu Arch-Diocese Finance Justice And Peace Commission Gulu Arch-Diocese Gulu District NGO Forum Information For Youth Empowerment Programme Conciliation Resources Conciliation Resources Journalist For Human Rights Justice And Peace Commission Gulu Arch-Diocese Office Of The Prime Minister In The Government Of Uganda Director For International Development Regional Director ,West Africa Legal Assistant / Foreign Policy Adviser Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Cultural Minister And Researcher Guild President Programme Officer – Peace Building Conciliation Resources Executive Secretary

33 34

28/10.08 28/10.08

35 36

28/10.08 28/10.08

Odong M P Eric Okello Moses Rubangangeyo Sofia Goinhas Melissa Jones Bryna Hallam Kidega Richard

Project Officer Project Manager

37 38 39 40

28/10.08 28/10.08 28/10.08 28/10.08

West Africa Programme Director Communications Trainer

Programme Officer Ag. Assistant Commissioner

41

28/10.08

Timothy Lubanga Kanuge

95

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Appendix 7 Sample Press Release

96

The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 

Appendix 8 Samples of Press Clippings

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 
Appendix 9 Summary of HRCSL Budget HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE SUMMARY OF FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2008 TO DECEMBER 2008 LEONES FUNDS RECEIVED : GOVERNMENT UNDP / PBF TOTAL FUNDS DISBURSED AS FOLLOWS: SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES INCOME TAX ( PAYE ) NASSIT RENTS FOR HEAD AND REGIONAL OFFICES ADMINISTRATI VE EXPENSES COMMUNICATION & PUBLIC EDUCATION PROGRAMMES CARRIED OUT : STAFF TRAINING TRAINING OF TRADITIONAL LEADERS INVESTIGATIO NS MONITORING PUBLIC EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT OF THE REGIONAL OFFICES : TRANSPORTING OF EQUIPMENT AND OPENING OF THE OFFICES CONSULTANCY SERVICES ENGAGED 538,129,000.00 3,431,291,992.80 4,036,189,092.80 183,037.07 1,167,106.12 1,372,853.43 DOLLARS

1,151,846,349.00 165,055,041.00 76,964,808.00 182,526,607.20 218,892,498.40 124,203,008.80

391,784.47 56,141.17 26,178.51 62,083.88 74,453.23 42,245.92

53,358,207.00 44,482,611.60 30,022,310.20 82,923,582.00 153,117,405.00

18,149.05 15,130.14 10,211.67 28,205.30 52,080.75

29,419,992.00

10,006.80

396,257,521.80

134,781.47

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The State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone   2008 
VARIOUS ASSETS ACQUIRED TOTAL

1,272,757,705.60 3,981,827,647.60

432,910.78 1,354,363.15

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