We feel obliged to acknowledge the efforts of the Human Rights Commission to seek justice for the disadvantaged ex-soldiers who have been (so it seems) unjustly classified as “chronically ill and mentally imbalanced.”
While we wait for the final outcome of the Commissions hearings, we are truly disappointed that some Sierra Leoneans can deliberately or inadvertently condemn their compatriots to a life of perpetual penury without any thought for their age, their future life, their families, and complete disregard for the sacrifice they have made for the mother land.
Classifying these people who have very nearly paid the supreme sacrifice for the well being of this nation as “mentally imbalanced” when clearly they do not walk around the streets of this city naked should be considered a crime punishable by law.
Also in these days when we have the amputees being offered jobs as security officials and office hands classifying our former soldiers as “chronically ill” should also be considered a crime punishable by law.
However while these first hearings are commendable so far, we wonder why the Commission is only now standing up for the rights of deprived Sierra Leoneans less than six months to the end of its five year life?
Indeed while the Commission took so long to sort out why they were appointed and the work they were supposed to be doing, several victims of Human Rights abuses like the action by Presidential security aides in Kenema and Bo, attacks on journalists but politicians and presidential guards, unprofessional crowd handling by police at the Inter secondary school sports at the national stadium and a host of other violations have now gone without any recourse to justice neither any true attempt to make sure they do not ever happen again.
Therefore while we commend the Commission for starting to publicly examine cases of human rights abuse we hope that they will now begin to be more assertive and begin to check over-zealous police officers who feel they have the right to physically manhandle citizens at the slightest opportunity; politicians who feel that because they have the backing of their political masters they can propagate thuggery on defenceless citizens and wife beaters, some of who know the law yet do not respect the law to name a few.
We hope the Commission by its actions will now move to ensure that we live in a more peaceful and civilised country and most importantly try to stamp out impunity so that we do not have.