The Human Rights Commission will today complete a two days training of traditional chiefs on Human Rights in the Western Region at the Grassroot Gender Empowerment John Street.
Explaining the purpose of the training, the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, Jamesina King said rights were to be enjoyed by all devoid of tribe, region and political parties. She said traditional authorities had a duty to perform in replacing the culture of violence and to eradicate violations from all forms.
Mrs King further explained that the protection of the women and the child should be recognized and that of the rights of the disabled whose primary responsibility and whose Human Rights violation were mostly done in communities. She recognised the traditional authorities as valued partners in the promotion and protection of people.
The traditional authorities that are being trained will be served as trainers in their various localities.
General Superintendent of Police, Theophilus Senesie who chaired the opening of the training said the functions most times of the traditional rulers contradicts Human Rights – customary marriage, African marriage and religion and with other traditional practices.
He stated these included practices of some traditions like why women were not allowed to become paramount chiefs or some not entitled to inheritance.
Chief S.O Gbekie, a Kono tribal Head in Freetown agreed that human rights violations were many and it was their responsibility as tribal heads to curb it. Mr Kedar Poudyal of the human rights and rule of law section of UNIOSIL said most times people contradict the principles of law and the traditional practices as he stated that it was because of the lack of separation between the two.
He however stated that human rights were all about dignity, prosperity, equality in society, harmony, development, inclusiveness and protection of the children. Mr Poudyal called on the traditional authorities to take the values of human rights to their various communities.
Julius S. Kamara from Network Community for Human Rights referred to the traditional authorities as respectable people who take decisions that affect their communities whilst the acting deputy mayor Bobson Kamara also referred to the chiefs as key players in the societies that are knowledgeable in traditional rules. Johannes Bassie, a disabled also spoke about the protection of the disabled in communities.
Mr Bankole Morgan, the western area human rights officer stated that the two days training was to create opportunities and sharing of experiences on human rights issues.
By Ishmael Bayoh