In presenting the country’s State of Human Rights for 2008 yesterday at the Commission’s head office, the chairperson of the Human Rights Commission Edward Sam told the Press that there continues to be Human Rights challenges.
Commissioner Sam said the report looks at ways in which fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Constitution and in the international and regional agreements to which Sierra Leone is a party and whether they have been observed or violated or not.
He said the country still continues to remain at the bottom of the UNDP index and that the fulfillment and promotion of economic and social rights remain a tremendous challenge.
Mr. Sam mentioned that the health sector was a massive problem with lack of drugs and qualified personnel and inadequate-equipped hospitals and health centers through out the country. Also, he said the country continues to have the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the world.
“This is not only a violation of the right to health of women and children, but indeed, a violation of the right to life itself. Everyone should find such a situation unacceptable, treat it as the health emergency that it really is and find concrete ways to save lives” he stated.
He also mentioned that whilst they recognized government’s effort in preparing the draft legislation on the rights of persons with disability, he noted that the international convention on the rights of persons with disabilities 2007 has still not been ratified.
And more should be done to maintain political tolerance, improve the administration of justice, do follow up on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendation and for all government department and agencies to cooperate with the Human Rights Commission.