From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Britain Supports Non-Police, Independent Rape Inquiry
By
Apr 8, 2009, 17:24

His Excellency Mr Ian Noel Hughes, the British High Commissioner to the Republic of Sierra Leone has yesterday used the opportunity of the 83rd Birthday celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to reiterate the British Government’s strong backing for the implementation of the April 2nd 2009 Joint Communiqué signed between the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) and the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The Joint Communiqué is calling for an independent investigation to be mounted into the sexual and other violence perpetuated at the opposition headquarters by alleged associates of the ruling party.

Mr. Ian Hughes stated at a Reception hosted at his Runnymeade residence last evening that he was happy to have witnessed such a historic Communiqué being signed and promised to provide all necessary support to ensure it is followed to the letter.

For her part, the Sierra Leone Foreign Minister, Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura also told the gathering that President Ernest Bai Koroma was committed to ensuring the implementation of the Joint Communiqué to the last letter.

In reaction to the words from the British envoy, the Secretary General of the SLPP, Mr. J.J. Saffa told Awareness Times last evening that he was, "particularly encouraged that the international community was not going to be a dormant follower of the implementation of the Joint Communiqué but had stated their firm commitment to providing all possible support for its implementation."

"At no less an occasion than the Queen’s Birthday celebrations, this matter of the Joint Communiqué that calls for an independent investigation into the rapes and sexual violence amongst other salient points was mentioned. It is encouraging to us in the SLPP and surely to all patriotic Sierra Leoneans," Saffa said.

Mr. Saffa also expressed deep appreciation for the United Nations’ Peacebuilding Commission in New York whose support for the Joint Communiqué, he said, would, "send a strong message to anyone who is contemplating to derail the spirit with which the Communiqué was signed".



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