From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Human Rights Commission Ends UPR Workshop for CSOs
By Mohamed Kanu
Sep 9, 2010, 17:12

In collaboration with the United Nations Peace Building Office in Sierra Leone, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has on the 7th¬†September 2010 ended one-day Universal Periodic Review workshop for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the theme: ďMaking Rights RealĒ at the Presidential Lounge, National Stadium in Freetown. This was in compliance with the mandate of the United Nation General Assembly for all member states to give their human rights report every four years, the next one being slated for May, 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland.

In his opening remarks the chairperson of the Workshop, Lawyer Emmanuel S Abdulai noted the importance of such workshop as being very essential for Civil Societies Organisations since according to him CSOs contribution for compiling the report was not only significant but integral to the Periodic Review as a process that will determine the position of Sierra Leone in the area of intervention.

Making a presentation on behalf of youths, the yet to be approved presidential nominee to the Youth Commissionís Board, Mr. Al-Sankoh noted that such an initiative would create a big opportunity for youths in the country, considering the fact that they form great proportion of countryís population but still remaining marginalized with high unemployment rate which he said was a recipe for chaos. He said in spite of efforts by the government in its Agenda for Change programmes, marginalization amongst the youth still exists as it was before the war. He on that note called on CSOs to partner with the Youth Commission for a brighter future for youths.¬† He assured that if approved by the House of Parliament, he would minimize challenges faced by youths by making sure that they are seen as partners in development.

In his contribution, Civil Society representative Mr. James Mathew disclosed that much has not been done by the government on civic, economic and social rights of the people of this country for which he said it was but integral as CSOs to not only participate in the validation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) but to be seen as partners in governance.  He said with the presence of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Vandi Chidi Minah at the workshop it was an opportunity to engage the government on the several challenges faced by the citizenry.  While underscoring the importance of the UPR as a report that will be co
ntaining views of Sierra Leoneans, he applauded the organizers of the workshop for such opportunity given to CSOs.

For his part, Hon Minah promised to continue keeping the APC government on their toes in making sure that they duly execute their constitutional tasks.

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