British government expresses concern for human rights in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2020:

The Sierra Leone Telegraph has seen a letter written by the UK Minister for Africa – James Duddridge,  expressing serious concern about the treatment of Sierra Leone’s former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, since her arrest and detention by the government of President Julius Maada Bio.

The letter dated 3rd of July 2020, by the Minister, states that the British government is aware of the arrest of Dr. Sylvia Blyden and the ongoing court trials also involving Palo Conteh.

“The UK continues to have substantive discussions with the Government of Sierra Leone” and said such discussions includes “raising the importance of improving media freedoms and protecting rights of journalists as well as the upholding of fundamental human rights,” the letter also reads.

The minister for Africa is concerned about the Criminal Libel Laws “under which Dr. Blyden has been charged”.

The lack of urgency by the Bio-led government in expunging the criminal libel laws from the country’s Statute Books, is casting a dark shadow over the government’s human rights record.

The British Minister expressed concern over the treatment of Dr. Sylvia Blyden who was detained by President Bio’s regime for 51 days, on spurious allegations of libel against the president, subversion and cyber-crimes.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made representations to the Government of Sierra Leone on the need for due process, as is our expectation of all judicial processes globally, as well as fair, timely and de-politicised justice”.


  1. Mr. Brima Sesay, Please slow down on Mr. James Duddridge because I can categorically tell you that this so-called letter is beyond his pay grade. As a former banker, his primary duty as The Minister to Sub-Saharan Africa, is connected ONLY to Economic development which involves international financial institutions and the UK government’s development finance institution. Official statements about human rights concerns usually comes from ambassadors or foreign secretaries and should have been breaking News on AYVTV and Radio Democracy 98.1 Fm and Awoko Newspaper which are the most trusted media outlets in our country.

  2. They should also focus on her corruption whilst Minister. What a spectacular fall from grace for this horrible woman. Ha ha

  3. Nowhere to run and hide for this Criminal SLPP Cabal now holding on to the reins of power; eventually this lawless President and his ruthless, agitating henchman are going to be bound and tied up securely and permanently in knots like a stubborn herd of cattle, waiting to be slaughtered by the dexterous unfaltering hands of unforgiving Fulani Cattlemen. Over 40 Prisoners slaughtered in cold blood, arbitrary arrests here and there, not to mention the systematic bullying and intimidation of innocent citizens and opposition members.

    Somehow, they think they are secure, above the law just like oil floating on top of water,but let these dullards and cowards be aptly reminded that oil sitting at rest on the surfaces of water can be licked dry and consumed completely by raging fire. A shameless remorseless bunch of tribalistic men, they are. We need the Prison authorities to now release the mugshots of those who were ritually and mercilessly sacrificed by SLPP military trained assassins, and we would also like to hear from some of their family members so that we will be able to get another authentic side of this tragic story.

    Let the British remind them – gone are the days when barbarians murder innocent citizens, and not a word of protest is heard anywhere. We will find out the truth about what happened while suspicious SLPP operatives were in Pademba road Prison on that ill-fated day…we will not pause,yield or rest until we do – better believe it!

  4. Mr.James Duddridge, we do not need another conflict or war ever again in to this country, and do not try to create one. You did not specify your main human right abuse concerns, but just raised about one individual’s name and concerns. We are no longer under a colonial rule. I do not understand if this was a petition or an issue that was debated in the British parliament or not. I personally urged you to form some bipartisan policy for immigration reforms, because since 1994 the British government stopped renewing our passport abroad when expired. I was in Tunis when I faced that problem, as you have claimed that you are a half Sierra Leonean, my question is” what have you ever done for Sierra Leone as your mother’s birth land”?. May God protect Sierra Leone.

    • There is James Duddridge, and there is another James Cleverly. They are both ministers of state in the foreign and commonwealth Office. The later is the minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa. He is the one that is born to a Sierra Leonean Mother and British father.

      I think Mr Brima Sesay you are spot on in saying the British government should do more for Sierra Leone. Historically these two countries are joined in the hip.

  5. Sierra Leone has been in the limelight of Human Rights Violations since the inception of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party(SLPP).
    It is a testimony of dissatisfaction and disappointment to the people of Sierra Leone who cried for regime change. Since the election of President Julius Maada Bio to power, there has been lots of Human Rights Violations ranging from both political witch-hunt against opposition parties, arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists, political violence to name but a few.
    The spate of violence in Sierra Leone is a cause for concern in Sierra Leone.

  6. The other problem we failed to notice or choose to ignore, is in the interest of the United Kingdom, or Europe for our countries to remain peaceful and prosperous. Young African men locked up in containers, and sold in slave markets in Libya, is an other solid reminder of how our politicians have failed us. There is nothing wrong with the land, the people, the God given natural resources, but the unwillingness or due to selfish reasons of our politicians, to take the lead in developing our countries for the good of all. The world has become a global village. What happened in a distant outpost, like in Wuhan, China in a meat market and the subsequent outbreak of COVID19, is now affecting countries around the world.

    Nowadays, countries like the UK have taken the view – don’t wait for the problem to come knocking at your door. Go and sort the problem from its source. If conflict erupts as a result of the work of fanatical, decisive and selfish unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans, that traditionally have tribal difference running in their DNA, the first flights of Sierra Leoneans refugees will be heading for London or USA. And you will find these are the politicians and their families. The same people that are stoking up tribal differences, saying their tribe or region deserves better than the rest of us. As for the rest of us, we shall be heading for Guinea and Liberia. The same routes we took during the fanatic RUF wars. No one wants that. No Sierra Leonean in their right mind will want that for our country. PEACE and HARMONY IS THE BEST! That is why the UK government is sounding the alarm.

  7. We still cant stand alone, politics is hunting and dividing us. We need fair play in all aspect of life (freedom in political association, speech, movement etc.), total inclusion (gender equality, tribal and regional). Lets try to be ourselves, solve our indifferences and see ourselves as one people. Thanks to our Colonial Masters, to step up

  8. Indeed our colonial master needs to stand firm for the people of our beloved country Sierra Leone, due to the continuous human rights abuses going on in the country, since the Bio led PAOPO government assumed power in 2018. We the people of Sierra Leone are tired with this blame game.

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