12 April 2018

Sierra Leone: HRC Says Political Violence Undermine Enjoyment of Human Rights

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has stated that violence and intimidation that ensued after announcement of the presidential run-off election result would undermine the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in the 1991 Constitution and international human rights instruments.

There were reports of political intimidation and violence in some parts of the country just after the announcement of the March 31 presidential run-off election in which Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio was declared President.

Victims have been severely injured, with buildings, including the offices of the main opposition All People's Congress at Taiama Junction touched in the wave of attacks.

Also, hundreds of opposition supporters have fled from Kono district and are currently seeking refuge in Masingbi, Tonkolili District, either as a result of alleged intimidation or for fear of reprisals, following acrimonious campaigns.

In a press release signed by its Chairperson, Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah, the commission noted that they had sent out a fact finding team to Masingbi and Kono to conduct independent investigation into reports of violence.

They called on citizens to conduct themselves responsibly within the rule of law, display political tolerance and also respect the fundamental human rights of one another.

"The Human Rights commission is concerned about the spate of political violence across the country following the announcement of the results of the March 31 run-off election. We unreservedly condemn any act of violence. We called on political parties to denounce violence, promote political tolerance and peaceful co-existence," the release stated.

The commission also reminded the government of its obligations to maintaining peace and security and called on the police to increase security personnel in affected areas so as to maintain law and order and protect lives and property.

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