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2019 Human Rights report: HRCSL received 326 complaints

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

According to the 2019 State of Human Rights report, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone received a total of 326 complaints as compared to 178 in 2018.

The HRCSL has already presented the State of Human Rights reports for 2018 and 2019 to President Julius Maada Bio and the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Bundu.

The two documents contained findings on issues of human rights across the country and what has been done by the relevant authorities to address them. It also proffered recommendations to be implemented by government and other state institutions in ensuring the enjoyment of human rights by all.

The reports also noted to what extent government has been able to make sure that human rights are progressively realized by all citizens, irrespective of tribe, political affiliations and status.

During the presentation of the reports to the media, Chairperson of the commission, Patricia Narsu Ndanema, said the increase in the number of complaints was largely due to the fact that they were able to engage in series of awareness raising, which gave citizens the much needed confidence to report matters of human rights violations.

“We have over the past years built confidence in the general public and so we really have more people now accessing the services of the commission. When you go back to the reports, you will see the successes in cases in which people have left with some level of satisfaction,” she said.

She added that one of the commission’s core functions has to do with the general public in terms of receiving and handling complaints.

The Chairperson explained that information contained in the two reports is almost 100 percent primary because they were drawn from observations, as well as monitoring, investigations of complaints and engagements with the appropriate authorities.

Madam Ndanema noted that the Commission, as per its mandate, has worked vigorously to protect and promote the rights of citizens.

“We also engaged in series of tours in correctional facilities across the country and made several recommendations. Our tour ensured the release of a prisoner who has spent twelve years in detention without conviction,” Commissioner Ndanema said.

She commended the government for some of the gains made in ensuring that the rights of citizens are protected, citing the allocation of 11% of the annual gadget to health, introduction of the free quality education program, review of the 2012 Sexual Offences Act and the repeal of part five of the 1965 Public Order Act.

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