A local Non- Governmental Organization, Forum of Conscience (FOC) and its member organization the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) on Friday observed the International Day in support of victims of torture at committee room No1 Parliament Building.
The theme for this years’ observation is Making Reparations a Reality for victims of the war in Sierra Leone.
Speaking at the ceremony the chairman Hon. Eric Jumu said the ordeal the victims of the war went through needed much attention and that if there should be lasting peace in the country, the cruelty perpetrated in the country should not be repeated. Hon. Jumu also called for discipline describing it as the bedrock for sanity.A joint statement by OMCT/FOC called on Government to show its commitment by following the recommendations of the Bintumani Stakeholders Consultations of June 2006. On that date, FOC, OMCT and redress (seeking reparation for torture survivors) in collaboration with NaCSA, held a seminar to work out practical issues and urged the government then to set up a special fund for war victims.
Out of the eight recommendations from the Bintumani consultations, only four have been addressed by government. The joint statement stated that the conduct of a nationwide census of war victims, undertaking of a study tour of countries with experience in victims reparations to identify best practices and to put in place mechanisms for fund raising on a sustainable basis were those not yet addressed.They argue that through advocacy, it would prevent revenge and recurrence of the trauma caused by the war and to provide victims with the basic welfare facilities in restoring their lost dignity in accordance with human rights standards.Statements were made by Mrs. Violet Kawa from the Sierra Leone Network on Human Rights Defenders, Benedict Sannoh, chief of Human Rights UNIPSIL, Buya Kamara the Director of Reparations NaCSA and Hon. Elizabeth Lavalie served as the keynote speaker.