Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2017
There is mixed reaction to last week’s announcement by Sierra Leone police to arrest any group of people jogging in the streets of the capital Freetown, without first obtaining permission from the police.
Many in Sierra Leone say that in the light of rising crime on the streets of the capital – especially robbery, it is but right that the police should be clamping down on organised groups pretending to be keeping fit by jogging on main roads.
Others say that the streets are usually heavily congested with people and traffic, and for people to jog in groups only adds to the problems suffered by motorists and pedestrians.
But there is also a significant dissenting voice that is calling the ban unjust and a breach of civil liberty.
Civil rights group – Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) is appealing to the Sierra Leone Police “to find a way to uphold the balance of rights and freedoms with safety and security at the core”. This is what it says in their appeal to the police:
“We are calling on the Sierra Leone Police ( SLP), to ensure that their decision to ban groups jogging for security reasons is fully in line with national and international law, and respect for the freedom of assembly and association as guaranteed by the constitution of Sierra Leone and other international human rights instruments . (Photo: Public notice issued by the Sierra Leone Police).
“The SLP should not forget that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, i.e. to both organize and participate in indoor and outdoor peaceful assemblies is a fundamental right, and the freedom of peaceful assembly and association is a cornerstone of democracy; a fundamental freedom.
“We wish to remind the SLP that there are laws that guarantee every Sierra Leonean the right to assembly; therefore they should not be seen acting in a manner that may not be reasonable and justifiable in a democratic Society.
“We want to kindly appeal to the SLP to find a way to uphold the balance of rights and freedoms with safety and security at the core.
“Sierra Leone is built and should be allowed to grow on the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) is a Rights based social-policy advocacy Organisation. We Draw attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights, and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.