Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 April 2019:
The newly appointed Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) held their first press conference yesterday at their Tower Hill office in Freetown, where they reminded the government of its obligation – to respect, protect, and guarantee human rights in the country without preconditions.
The chairman of the Commission – Mrs Patricia Narsu Ndanema said that whilst the enjoyment of human rights is the collective responsibility of all, they remain optimistic that government will be committed to their human rights obligations of respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights, so as to ensure the peaceful co-existence of all citizens, as well as to ensure equal enjoyment of the fruits of the nation’s development.
Addressing the public, she said: “The Human Rights Commission is yours. I hereby announce that our doors are wide open to all to address possible human rights violations – within our jurisdiction, without regard to ethnic, regional, political and other discriminatory considerations. We are here to serve everyone from all communities in the East, South, North, North West and the Western Areas Rural and Urban.”
Mrs. Ndanema assured the public that they have a mandate to uphold the HRCSL’s established vision, which is for a Sierra Leone where the culture of human rights prevails, the people respect the rule of law and live in peace and dignity.
Explaining some of the strategies they will adopt in order to realise that vision, she spoke about robust resource mobilization to promote their work at various levels; human rights education for duty bearers – thereby taking along all duty bearers that have been charged to serve the people; extensive legal literacy on the local, regional and international human rights laws and obligations; extensive community/public awareness of human rights and to ensure the presence of the Commission in all districts and their environs.
“We also uphold our Mission which is to take the lead role in building the culture of human rights – i.e. respect for individual rights and responsibilities, which maintains the human dignity for all in Sierra Leone in full compliance with the constitution, statutes, international and regional instruments through effective partnership and collaboration,” she averred.
She thanked the International partners of HRCSL for their financial and technical support for the Commission over the years. They craved their indulgence for their continued support towards the Commission’s effort in ensuring the enjoyment of human rights by all in the country.
To their local partners including civil society organizations, the chairman renewed collaborative partnership in the protection and promotion of rights, and in the education of the public on their responsibilities.
All five commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, took their oath office in the presence of president Bio last Wednesday, 10th April 2019, at State House.
Speaking on behalf of the Commissioners at the swearing in ceremony, the chairman of HRCSL, Patricia Naasu Ndanema said their job is to speak out on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone and to hold rights holders accountable for violations of human rights.
She assured the president of their capabilities and capacities in the protection and promotion of human rights and called on all to work towards the realization of rights in Sierra Leone.
President Julius Maada Bio assured the commissioners of his government’s support in the discharge of their duties. The HRCSL commissioners are: Patricia Naasu Ndanema -chairman; Lawyer Victor Lansana – vice chairman; Hassan Samba Yarjah; Simity Laverley; Dr. Gassam Abess.