|Posted by RCG-SL on September 23, 2014 at 3:15 PM|
By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
The Human Rights Commission in Sierra Leone (HRCSL) is continuing efforts in the promotion of human rights in the country and new Boss, Mr. Brima A. Sheriff, says the Commission will be utilizing the efforts of all stakeholders in the promotion of human rights to ensure the protection of all.
However, faced with the ebola crises that continue to crumple the economy and almost annihilating the functions of most institutions, the HRC now faces a new fight.
This challenge, according to Mr. Sheriff, is being looked at with a human rights perspective and thus committing the Commission to set up an ebola task force and realigning most of their resources towards ebola.
“We want to ensure we fulfill the mandate in the Act, see how the Commission will support Government to respect, promotes and protect human rights in Sierra Leone,” Mr. Sheriff said during an interview in his office on Friday.
“We will be working with the Government in terms of providing support in reporting development in human rights issues in the country. We will also be working with the media because we believe the media is a powerful front in the promotion of Human Rights at senior and directorate levels,” he said, adding that, one key aspect the Commission will be utilizing is working strategically with NGOs, civil society and International Non-Governmental Organizations.
But the promotion of human rights in the country will be farfetched without the collaboration of traditional stakeholders whose regions have the highest rates of violations and abuse.
Sheriff said the Commission will address this challenge by engaging traditional leaders at a very high level and also work with state institutions and guide them to know the law because the HRC believes in engagement.
“People should know that human rights violation is a violation whether it falls under cultural rights or not,” he said, adding that as they continue to work on the ebola pandemic in epicenters and quarantined zones, they are looking at the right to health and dignity of ebola victims. How are they being treated and access to information?
“In July, HRC went to epicenters to look at the rights situation of patients and as a result mobile phones are now provided for patients to communicate with their families. We are also working to ensure that food and water are provided as well as psychological counselling,” he said, reiterating further that, the most vulnerable people are orphans, disabled and the elderly in society.
He also commit his leadership in continuing to build on what has already been built, stating “We will be meeting the press every week and prepare lots of human rights packages to be made available in all the regions”.
“We will be reaching out to our people with media tools created in their local languages,” he disclosed.
He also said he has started holding meetings with different directorates to ensure that awareness on human rights cuts across institutions and people.