The chairman of the Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone, Mr Edward Sam has disclosed that the commission has documented 234 cases of alleged human right abuses that occurred in the country in 2008.He made this disclosure during the commission’s consultative engagement with civil society organizations on Tuesday 7th April at Santanno House in Freetown.
The meeting was to discuss the State of Human Right in Sierra Leone with a review of the 2008 human rights report. The joint consultative meeting also provides an opportunity for civil society organizations to intimate the commission on their findings on human rights violations that took place in the country in 2008.
The chairman; Mr. Edward Sam reported that since the commission started operations three years ago they have embarked on a number of activities intended to promote human rights in the country. In addition they are also charged with the responsibility of investigating and reporting cases of human rights abuses.
This is done in collaboration with civil society organizations.Mr Sam clearly pointed out their neutrality in carrying out their functions. “We have never compromised our independence with any gift or donation” he added.
In the report the commission noted that government is not doing much to promote the basic rights of citizens and very little attention is being given to human rights issues. The commission also found out that so many people lost their jobs in 2008 as a result of party affiliation.
The TRC’S recommendation for 30% female representation in politics was not met in 2008 and women are under represented in parliament, executive and public life. The commission also recorded an increase in the level of police brutality against the media. A host of other issues like Female genital mutilation by our traditional people, high maternal and infant mortality rates, last on the Human Development Index, the deplorable condition of our prisons, delay in trials in the courts, criminal libel laws still in the law books which limits freedom of expression and a host of other human rights violations that occurred in 2008 were highlighted in the report.
The commission however, promised to give a comprehensive report on the state of human rights in 2008 after a nationwide consultation with civil society organizations.
Participants from civil society organizations also gave contributions in a participatory group discussion on report on the state of human rights in the country in 2008.Similar consultative engagement with civil society organizations will also be held in the provinces.