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UN mission to open new human rights office in eastern Sierra Leone

UN mission to open new human rights office in eastern Sierra Leone

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is set to open a new human rights office in the eastern part of the country to promote the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and to help instil a culture of human rights.

In addition to promoting the work of the TRC, the new office will discharge a range of activities including training, monitoring and reporting human rights abuses, and raising public awareness on human rights issues and international humanitarians principles.

During the opening ceremony on 2 May, addresses are expected to be made by Alan Doss, UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for Governance and Stabilization, and Rodolfo Mattarollo, the head of the UN Mission's Human Rights Office.

UNAMSIIL was established by the Security Council in October 1999 to cooperate with the Government and the other parties in implementing the Lomé Peace Agreement and to assist in the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plan. The Council revised the Mission's mandate in February 2000, and expanded its size, which it did again in May 2000 and last March.

As part of its mandate, the peace operation is to support the activities of UN civilian officials, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and his staff, human rights officers and civil affairs officers.

The decision to establish a truth commission in Sierra Leone was made in 1999, to allow victims of human rights abuses to tell their stories.