Sierra Leone’s Attorney-General Addresses UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, Switzerland, Friday 1 October 2021- At the ongoing 48th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council held using a combination of in-person and remote participation, Sierra Leone's Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Anthony Brewah, today addressed the Human Rights Council under Agenda Item 6, as part of the 3rd Cycle Universal Periodic Review adoption of the Working Group Report on Sierra Leone's human rights record.
Delivering Sierra Leone’s position on behalf of the President, Dr Julius Maada Bio, on the UPR recommendations, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Anthony Brewah, thanked all stakeholders who engaged with Sierra Leone during the third UPR and made our human rights review a success. The review was conducted on 14 May 2021.
The Minister said Sierra Leone proving itself as a pacesetter in the field of human rights. The government’s conviction in strengthening and improving the human rights in Sierra Leone, the Minister said, is not motivated by sentiment and optimism; rather, it is rooted in government's commitment, resolve, capability, and wartime experience. He said never again to allow ourselves, our governments, and our laws to be used as instruments or be complacent to human rights violations.
The Attorney-General disclosed that Sierra Leone received a total of 274 recommendations. A consultative process to review these recommendations was commenced. "The IMC, the government’s Inter-Ministerial Human Rights Committee, which has a UN official and civil society representation and the Human Rights Commission (as technical advisers) met and discussed the recommendations. This consultative and transparent process helped us in our decision-making process and in the end Sierra Leone accepted 216 recommendations and noted 58 recommendations’’, he noted.
The Attorney-General assured of government's commitment to fully implementing all the 216 accepted recommendations to build a better human rights architecture in Sierra Leone. ‘’By the time we submit our 3rd Cycle Midterm Report for the 4th cycle UPR, we will present an even more positive and impressive story of change, better and improved human rights record in Sierra Leone’’, the Minister noted.
He further said government acknowledge that Sierra Leone human rights architecture has its challenges-the reason why the government is taking progressive steps to make it better. ‘’We believe an improved human rights infrastructure is necessary to fulfil our national development goals, including goals linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. I call on all stakeholders to join us to implement our 3rd Cycle UPR recommendations. Sierra Leone has the commitment and needs your support to improve its human rights record’’, Attorney-General concluded.
In her statement, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Madam Patricia Narsu Ndanema said the Commission welcomes government’s acceptance of most of the recommendations it received, including recommendations 27 to 45 which highlights its commitments to continue the Constitutional Review Process being one of its voluntary pledges and its commitment to support the work of the Human Rights Commission in the protection and promotion of human rights.’The Commission however urges the government to give further considerations to the ‘noted’ recommendations particularly recommendations 11, 12,13 and 174 to 179. These recommendations are meant to improve the situation of women and girls with reference to combating discrimination and addressing acts of violence such as Female Genital Mutilation.
Whilst introducing the high-level delegation from Freetown and the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, His Excellency Samuel U.B. Saffa Esq, underscored President Julius Maada Bio’s efforts in maintaining and strengthening the nation’s human rights in Sierra Leone.
The UN Member States commended Sierra Leone for the Hands Off Our Girls Initiative, the abolition of the death penalty, abolition of the criminal libel law, promoting education, addressing child trafficking, taking measures to combat COVID-19, and advancing gender discrimination and inequity, among other things, and expect Sierra Leone to implement the 216 recommendations and consider the 58 noted recommendations.
The Human Rights Council formally adopted Sierra Leone’s 3rd cycle Universal Periodic Review outcome report by consensus.
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