As part of fulfilling its mandate of protecting and promoting human rights in Sierra Leone, the Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) on Thursday June 13th, 2019 engaged the Legal Aid Board (LAB) at their Wilberforce street office in Freetown.
The visit is part of the Commission’s strategy in engaging relevant stakeholders in the field of human rights.
Welcoming the HRCSL Commissioners, the Executive Director of LAB, Fatmata Clarie Carlton-Hanciles congratulated the new Commissioners on their appointments and hope for a better partnership in the future.
She further stated that she was happy that the Commission found it necessary to do a first hand visit to the LAB to understand their work. She further acknowledged the partnership that exists between the HRCSL and the LAB, and explained that the two institutions have been collaborating on referrals cases from the HRCSL and vice versa.
She however informed the the HRCSL Commissioners that they will be launching a campaign to ‘ reduce lawlessness and promote access to justice’ which they hope the Commission with partake.
In her reaction, Commissioner Simite Lavaly stated that she was very happy for the work the the LAB was doing and also for the collaboration that had existed between the two institutions.
In relation to access to justice, Commissioner Lavaly recommended for a monthly meeting to be conducted between the two institutions as a way to dialogue in a structured manner on issues regarding access to justice.
The Commissioner suggested for a research on causes of violence in the country and measures to be put in place for its intended decrease.
The LAB Executive Director proposed that the HRCSL and the LAB do a joint position letter for the construction of a human rights friendly Correctional Centres.
In his own contribution, the Vice Chairman of HRCSL, Victor I. Lansana added for the two institutions to work collaboratively in the areas of public education and human rights. He also stated that sensitization is key as most people want to claim their rights but do not know that their are corresponding responsibilities.
— with Hassan Samba Yarjah.