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HRC-SL urges adherence to COVID-19 regulations

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has called on the public to adhere to the directives and regulations put in place by government to stem the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

In its monitoring report of the three-day lockdown, Chairperson of the commission, Patricia Ndanema stated that such regulations and directives were meant to protect citizen’s rights to health and life, their families and others.

The three-day lockdown was meant to track, trace and break the chain of transmission of the novel corona virus disease.

According to madam Ndanema, the purpose of their monitoring was to observe compliance to the three days ‘Stay Home Directives’, as well as respect for human rights standards.

She said the presence of law enforcement officials was very conspicuous even in hilly and mountainous communities, manning check points and asking questions around authenticity to ply the routes during the lock down.

She encouraged all and sundry to desist from spreading fake news as it has the tendency to seriously undermine the fight against COVID-19.

According to the report, a few incidents, where Law Enforcement Officials, both the Military and the Sierra Leone Police were engaged in beating up citizens, who were allegedly non-compliant with the ‘Stay Home Directives’ in some parts of the country were observed.

“HRCSL’s attention was also drawn to some alleged social media/whatsapp videos displaying military and police officials engaged in treating citizens in an inhuman and degrading manner. After verification of some of the said videos, HRCSL views such heavy handedness as disproportionate and defeats the enjoyment of non-derogable rights,” the report stated.

The country’s national human right body recommended that the leadership of the law enforcement agencies promptly investigate and bring to book any of their personnel found wanting in respect of the allegations of the inhuman and degrading treatment meted against the affected members of the public during the lockdown.

The availability of clean and safe drinking water was challenging in most communities throughout the three days lock down and this prompted residents in those communities to come out of their homes in search of water supply.

The Ministry of Water Resources and its subsidiary agencies were also urged to ensure that safe and clean drinking water is provided in the various communities within Freetown and in the districts and especially during lock down when people’s rights to freedom of movement is restricted within the confines of the law.

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