The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) on 21st October, 2010 celebrated the African Human Rights Day at the CCSL Hall King Harman Road in Freetown on the theme ‘Human Rights a key to achieving sustainable peace and security in Africa.”
In his address, Commissioner Revered Mosis Kanu noted that the 21st of October every year marks the commemoration of the day that was adopted by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1986. he however, informed that the adoption of a human rights’ treaty for Africa had begun as early as 1961. “The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was concerned with the eradication of colonialism and the dismantling of apartheid and as such the OAU viewed human rights instruments as promoting peaceful and positive international cooperation on the continent,” he posited, saying the African Charter was to reflect the history, values, tradition and economic concerns of the continent. He said the African Charter was adopted on the 26 June, 1981 but that it only entered into force in 1986 after receiving the required number of ratifications and accessions from member sates. It seeks to combine African values with international norms, guaranteeing civil and political rights as well as socio-economic rights in a single document emphasizing the unity and indivisibility of all human rights,” he stated.
The reverend informed that the supervisory institution of the African Charter is the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, and that Sierra Leone has ratified the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. “This means we have made a very serious commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights both in Sierra Leone and on the continent and we must keep to,” he fostered.
Speaking on Behalf of UNDP, Madam Shazia Razzaque reiterated date the African Charter came into force. She said they were together to not only recognize its significance on the legal human rights landscape of Africa but to frankly discuss what it means for the peoples of Africa, particularly Sierra Leoneans. “As Sierra Leone cast its eyes back, one can recall how far the country has come from the nadir of human rights violations during the war to a country that has demonstrated its resolve to forge a new history for its next generations: one that includes efforts for law reform, an independent Human Rights Commission and increased access to justice, especially for the most vulnerable members of society.” She noted.
She said the principles harmonize with the very wording of the key UN human rights instruments such as UN Declaration of Human Rights which states “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.
The key note address was delivered by the new Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Elvis Gbanabom Halowell
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