In line with its legislative authorization to promote and protect human rights, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) Monday commemorated the International Human Rights Day and the commission’s first anniversary.
In her statement the HRCSL commissioner, Jamesina King, said “this year’s event is the beginning of one year advocacy campaign culminating in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR’s) 60th anniversary in 2008.”
She noted that, “this day is also significant as the HRCSL is marking its first anniversary of our operations”, adding that “the establishment of the commission is a fulfillment of the terms of the Lome Peace Agreement and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
The commissioner explained that this year’s theme: ‘Dignity and Justice for All of Us’ was relevant in ensuring that conflict did not ignite which should be their common goal as “we work towards reconciliation and reconstruction of a post conflict society where peace, justice and the rule of law prevails.”
She stated that impunity was fostered by the absence of justice and it robbed not only individuals of their dignity but also “our society of unity, sustainable peace, stability, development and reconciliation which our society needs. We therefore called upon all today to join the campaign to end impunity and to promote justice for all victims.”
“The HRCSL remains committed in fulfilling its mandate of promoting and protecting the rights of individuals in Sierra Leone not in isolation but in partnership with all citizens. Therefore we shall build in Sierra Leone a culture of respect of human rights,” she said.
In his statement, vice president Samuel Sam-Sumana congratulated the commissioners of the HRCSL for their resilience and hard work over the last twelve months.
“Our commitment as a government to the protection and promotion of human rights was articulated by the President during the state opening of the third parliament of the second republic of Sierra Leone,” he said.
The vice president stated that, “as we celebrate this day, we hope that we can take stock of our successes and at the same time reflect on our weakness so that we can better promote and protect human rights in Sierra Leone.”
The National Vision Competition 2007 was also declared open by Mrs King as she official opened the national secretariat.