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Amnesty International launches 2016/17 target, anti press freedom

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The Amnesty International Report, 2017/17, states, “Sierra Leone agreed to repeal or revise laws used to restrict freedom of expression and association, but refused to prohibit by law female genital mutilation (FGM), to allow pregnant girls attend schools and or to guarantee the human rights of lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people”.
The Executive Director of Amnesty Sierra Leone, Solomon Sogbandi said issues of restrictive laws around freedom of expression and association are more prevalent in Sierra Leone.
According to the West and Central Africa Director of Amnesty International, Alioune Tine, “2016 was the year when the cynical use of ‘us vs them’ narratives of blame and hate and fear took on a global prominence to a level not seen since the 1930s.” He continued, Despite the powerful upswing of political repression and bans on protests, we have seen positive stories of people going out to the streets in large numbers expressing opinions and reclaiming their rights.”
Amnesty’s West African Researcher, Sabrina Mahtani said, “Amnesty International is warning that 2017 will see ongoing crises exacerbated by a debilitating absence of human rights leadership on a chaotic world stage”.
On Wednesday, at Brookfield’s Hotel in Freetown, Amnesty International launched the State of the World’s Human Rights Report for the year 2016/17.
According to the report, “unwarranted restrictions on freedom of expression assembly and association continues to be imposed” in the country.
Sogbandi cited the arrest and detention as well as charges and sentencing of 29 people on the 27th of April 2016; the trial of 15 members of the SLPP and a senior officer of Human Rights Commission arrested in Kenema; the refusal of police to grant permission for peaceful demonstrations; the arrest and detention of journalists and other persons who expressed themselves on social media; police killing of people on peaceful protest among others.
He applauded the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, which have been calling on the government to repeal Part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965. He stated that though there is some commitment from the government, there is the question of how soon that was going to be done. Other issues highlighted in the report include, the Universal Peer Review, domestication of international treaties, women’s rights, the right to education and land disputes.
Sogbandi said Sierra Leone is on the average when it comes to addressing human rights violations. According to him, the government was making efforts to address some of the problems, but more violations emerged.
Sonkita Conteh the Director of Namati, spoke on land rights. “The report should be viewed as an opportunity to improve not just the indictment of state institutions. This is because government agencies become defensive whenever issues of violation of rights are pointed out,” he said.
“When you adopt a progressive approach to rights protection and respect, review criticisms constructively, it becomes an opportunity for you to improve how you do business. I view this report as a score card from which the government and citizens of this country would begin to take action,” he concluded.

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  1. Aiah Sodengbe says

    Sierra Leoneans are normally placid people despite the daunting economic challenges. Without any iota of doubt, there is more room for improvement for the Sierra Leone Jurisprudence.

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