People of Gomdama and Taninihun Mboka villages which are geographically located five miles apart but are in the same Kongbora Chiefdom in the Moyamba District unanimously agreed on the decision of the Paramount Chief, elders, school pupils, teachers and the community in general to declare these villages ‘Amnesty Villages’ and as such members of the wider net of the Amnesty International (AI) organization.
The decision also coincided with the launching of the Africa Human Rights Education Network in the two villages by Amnesty International-Sierra Leone. The reason behind the peoples’ declaration stemmed from the concerted effort played by the organization in the release of eleven subjects from the two villages on allegation of conspiring to overthrow the present government sometime last year.
According to the people, it was only the Amnesty International that stood firm on the basis of the human rights of these suspects to ensure their ultimate freedom.
The declaration of the two villages as Amnesty Villages therefore is in recognition of the advocacy role played in ensuring the freedom of their people. AI has in the past been educating and sensitizing these communities on their basic fundamental human rights and ensuring sustainable peace and tranquility in the communities.
Speaking at the two villages, the Director of Amnesty International-Sierra Leone, Brima Sheriff said Amnesty of all categories of human beings regardless of colour, race, sex, origin, etc.
He said the organization is neutral, non political and independent and is charged with the responsibility of educating people about their human rights and their responsibilities towards maintaining such rights.
“We did not intervene in your saga because we are politically affiliated but, because we see it as our responsibility to protect the rights of every human being,” he noted, adding, “It is all because of that, that we launched the Human Rights Education Network in these two villages to show our commitment towards achieving our goals,” he posited.
Mr. Brima underscored the importance of AI’s activism to rural communities, noting that it is important in that it brings to bare government’s obligations to its people and how the people too can check-mate these obligations. He cited obligations such as the provision of medical services and facilities, good roads, and an enabling environment for the people to conduct their businesses freely without fear among others.
Speaking on behalf of his people, Paramount Chief Alfred Saidu Ndomawa Banya II heartily urged his subjects to start seeing Amnesty International as a corporate partner in maintaining peace and co-existence in the chiefdom. He paid tribute to the relentless efforts and roles played by the organization in maintaining peace and tranquility in the chiefdom as well as in helping them know their rights when these rights seem to be deprived.
PC Banya II therefore declared, “Because we believe in peace we are declaring these two villages as Amnesty Villages as a symbol of our commitment to peace and peaceful existence.”
He called on AI to continue providing the much needed peace education in his chiefdom and urged it not to relent, in order that his chiefdom and people can contribute efficiently towards the socio-economic development of the country.
Amnesty International’s Coordinator who is based in Senegal, Assouan Gbesso, assured the two villages that by his next visit they would have started benefiting from Amnesty projects.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.