The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone on Friday launched its Library and Documentation Centre which was supported by Irish Aid.
Commissioner J. Stanley stated that the Library and Resource Centre will help them to achieve one of their responsibilities to disseminate Human Rights messages to members of the public. He also stated that it will be useless for them to operate without a Resource Centre as they have been in operation for the past four years. The Centre is also operational in all their branches in the provincial headquarters.
Commissioner Jamesina King who also acted as Chairperson of the programme stated that the establishment of this Centre is a way to communicate to the nation. “People can now come to the Centre and do research on Human Rights issues.”
Mrs. Mary Gavombo President of the Sierra Leone Association of Archivists, Librarians and Information Professionals (SLAALIP) stated that she felt delighted that institutions are gradually recognizing the need for Library and Documentation Services in their activities in the country. She continued that she began to see the beginning of better days to come as they became eager to document what they do and preserve records such that they can always refer to them in their research activities and their relationship with other institutions. She said they need special Libraries and Documentation Centres to serve their special needs in every sphere of life. Furthermore she said the Centre will provide specialized information that they need to execute their duties as well as link them with other institutions and individuals who will have similar goals and objectives.
Mr. Kadal Pundal Deputy Head Human Rights Section UNIPSIL stated that they are happy to be part of the programme as they have been working with the Commission from its establishment a number of years back. He further stated that having a resource centre will not only facilitate other partners but also improve students in building their knowledge on Human Rights issues. This is one area where books are written every day by people in and around the world. He also stated that they will continue to support the commission as before.
Commissioner Edward Sam stated that information is power. “Information is a key resource in our commitment to protect and promote Human Rights. As Human Rights defenders must continuously strive to enrich themselves in all issues bordering on protecting and promoting Human Rights. This cannot be achieved without accurate and relevant information that is so essential in the growing field of Human Rights.” Commissioner Sam maintained that there is a growing demand today in Sierra Leone for universal access to information and knowledge thereby reducing the information and knowledge gap between students, journalist, communities, researchers, staffs and commissioners.
Ann-marie Callan representative of the Irish Embassy stated that the programme is taking place in the same week as Sierra Leone marks the twentieth anniversary of the start of the war in 1991. This launching represents another milestone in the development of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. She further stated that support for Human Rights is an integral part of Ireland’s foreign and development policy and their support for the Human Rights Commission reflect this ethos
By Alhaji Manika Kamara