The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have completed regional training of District Human Rights Committees on Monitoring human rights violations and abuses during the electoral processes.
The regional training began on 6 February in Port Loko, and continued on 7 February in Moyamba, on the 8th February, in Kailahun, and in Freetown on the 12th February.
The training was conducted to strengthen and to enhance the capacity of the District Human Rights Committees in human rights monitoring during elections as well as to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills in identifying and reporting human rights violations and abuses during and after the elections.
Addressing the CSOs in Port Loko, the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Usman Jesse Fornah said as the country gears up for March 7 elections, it was prudent to build their capacities around monitoring human rights violations.
Fornah considered such training as fundamental to the realization and fulfillment of human rights in the regions. “Training of members of the district human rights committees in human rights monitoring and elections would have a multiplier effect by training trainers who in turn would cascade such training at district and community levels. It will further equip them to effectively monitor human rights violations during the elections,” the Chair stated.
The District Human Rights Committees are a coalition of human rights and civil society organizations or groups in the districts acting as a unit. This idea was first introduced by the Human Rights Section of the then UN Assistance Mission to Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) with a view to enhancing solidarity and collaboration among the many civil society organizations that sprung up in the aftermath of the war.
The regional training was facilitated by Commissioners and staff of HRCSL making use of the training manual for monitoring human rights violations developed in December 2017 as well as the revised checklist for monitoring human rights violations during elections.
By Betty Milton
Wednesday February 14, 2018.