HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SIERRA LEONE
PRESS RELEASE NO. 26
HRCSL expresses deep concern over the recent spate of violence in the country and regrets the resulting loss of life and injuries to individuals and destruction of property. We refer to reports of political violence recently in Kono followed by the affray at the national stadium during the Egypt/Sierra Leone match and most recently the Bo incident. The incident in Kono and Bo involved political violence resulting in the discharge of firearms allegedly by the police leading to injury to individuals and security personnel. The Human Rights Commission sends its deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased and victims.
HRCSL calls on all political parties and civil society to condemn political violence openly and sincerely and urges all political parties and individuals to pursue peaceful resolutions of conflicts and to revisit the UN facilitated Communique between the APC and SLPP in 2009.
In particular, HRCSL urges a prompt and impartial investigation into the above incidents to hold perpetrators accountable, end impunity and forestall future conflicts.
HRCSL calls on government to ensure that the human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by national and international instruments to which Sierra Leone is a party are protected and respected. In maintaining peace and security and addressing threats to public order, it is essential for government and other state actors and especially the police to act in accordance with care and constraint and professionalism using force as a last resort and avoid the use of firearms.
The current trend of unhealthy political discourse leading to polarization, mistrust and verbal threats on the media and individual politicians are early warning signs of potential conflicts that may likely infringe on free, fair, credible and peaceful 2012 elections. To avoid this dangerous outcome, it is essential for Government, police and other state actors as well as ordinary citizens to protect and respect human rights and act in accordance with the rule of law at all times.
HRCSL calls on the NEC and PPRC to enforce compliance with national laws and code of conduct governing political parties.
All are reminded of where we have come from as a nation and to make all possible efforts not to revert to our ugly past. It is essential that we maintain the gains made in consolidation of peace and democracy.
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone is an independent institution established by Act No.9 of 2004 with the mandate to protect and promote human rights
13th September, 2011
Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone
NEC Building, Tower Hill
69 Blama Road – Kenema
30A Wallace Johnson Street – Makeni
1 Old Railway Line - Bo