The UK's International Ambassador for Human Rights and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Rita French, visited Sierra Leone on her first visit overseas as part of her new roaming ambassador role. Rita is on a tour of West Africa to engage partner governments on priority human rights issues; she will also visit the Gambia and end in Senegal for the Human Rights Retreat Council.
As part of her visit, Rita was greeted with a dinner at the British High Commissioner's Residence meeting key members of Civil Society to discuss progress on human rights issues in Sierra Leone, including media freedom, gender, the importance of education, and the key role of civil society.
On her second day Rita was briefed by the Criminal Investigation Department and Superintendent Liz Macleod, understanding the role of the Sierra Leone Police and NGO Prison Watch to learn about the response and prevention activities supporting human rights issues throughout the country. Rita also met with the Human Rights Commission and paid a courtesy call on Vice President Juldeh Jalloh at his office in Freetown.
The UK is committed to supporting the Government of Sierra Leone to make further progress on human rights, particularly the rights of women and girls. The UK believes that education - particularly ensuring that every girl is able to fully access a quality education - will play a central role in this.
In her meeting with Vice President Juldeh Jalloh Rita French said:
"I was struck by the inclusiveness of freedom of religion in Sierra Leone. I am confident that this same inclusiveness can be applied, especially for women and girls, across society. I am very encouraged by the VP's enthusiasm to invest in human capital as the pathway to success as there is more to do to progress human rights."