• July 27, 2023

Sierra Leone Dodges Treaties Reporting

Sierra Leone Dodges Treaties Reporting
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With the number of local, regional and international Human Rights organizations operating in the country, it is heart rendering to discover that Sierra Leone is among countries with backlog of reports that have over the years largely reduced the country’s rating in compliance to regional and global Human Rights accords.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone – HRCS “2019 State of Human Rights in Sierra Leone”, Sierra Leone has submitted initial and /or periodic reports on the five of the seven ratified core treaties, which are Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of a Child, to the Human Right Council.

In a statement delivered by the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Professor David Francis, during the launching of the Popularization of the National Reporting Mechanism to International Treaty Bodies, blatantly contradicted the 2019 State of Human Right in Sierra Leone.

During the launch of the first ever National Reporting Mechanism Treaty Bodies in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP), Prof Francis informed that the Reporting Mechanism will enable Sierra Leone to clear backlog reports.

The Reporting Mechanism is also gears towards ensuring that Sierra Leone no longer default on such reporting obligations, as reliable partners on the international stage, with a clear understanding of the country’s foreign policy objectives as stated in section 10, with specific reference to paragraph (d) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No.6 of 1991.

“The country international visibility as a credible and respectable member of the international community is at stake if we do not fulfil our international obligations,” he stated.

Prof Francis said Sierra Leone being a credible, respectable and rebranded nation, is poised to become the envy of all with standard practice that can be emulated by all as we take the country back to the glorious days when the rest of the sub-region looked up to our country for the best in almost everything, he said.

The Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation, Prince E. O. Cole said, Sierra Leone being a signatory to many International Human Rights treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Right of the Child, the Convention of all forms of Racial Discrimination, among others, made it obligatory to us as a nation to periodically submit our reports to treaty bodies to ascertain the level of compliance under such treaties for which Sierra Leone cannot.

“The key reporting obligation of Sierra Leone is the Universal Periodic Review that takes the form of 4 years reporting cycle on the state of Human Rights in the Country. This he said was the 4th reporting cycle under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the key aim according to him was to guide and strengthen the reporting functions of the state to international treaty bodies. He pledged government’s commitments to fully support the implementation of the Mechanism.

As it stands, Sierra Leone is a member to 49 conventions of which the country has signed 27, ratified 17, accessions to 9 and status to 45 with backlog of reports hanging around the nation’s neck for considerable period of years.

The Director of Communications, HRCSL, Richard Tamba M’bayo said in an interview with FORUM NEWS-SL regarding the status of the country’s compliance with reporting on International Treaties, cleverly refused to respond directly to the issues for reasons best known to him. He referred the paper’s investigators to the institution’s website, saying that as an institution, they do not have the mandate to punish Ministries, Departments and Agencies for refusing to go by their recommendations.

All we can do is repetition of recommendations until a specific MDA adhere to them. He described the abolition of the dead penalty and the repeal of part 5 of the Criminal Label Law as the success stories of the commission’s repeated recommendations.

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