Local committees tasked with monitoring, investigating and reporting on human rights violations in Sierra Leone will now be able to work out of new resource centres provided by the United Nations mission in the West African country and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The district-level human rights committees were set up by the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), with financial support from OHCHR, in an effort to strengthen the national systems to protect and promote human rights. The mission also provided them with training on the protection of human rights, rule of law and strengthening democracy.
“Building and strengthening the capacity of human rights civil society organizations is a compelling necessity for the consolidation of peace and respect for human rights in any country emerging from conflict,” the mission stated in a news release issued in the capital, Freetown.
UNIOSIL will formally hand over the resource centres for the committees in Kenema, Bo, Bonthe and Matru Jong on Friday and Saturday.
Under its Programme of Assistance to Sierra Leone, OHCHR will pay the rents for the resource centres for one year, and provide furniture, computers, printers, stabilizers, generators, motorbikes and stationeries. It will also ensure that the centres have enough staff to remain open to the public on a daily basis.
UNIOSIL was set up in 2006 to help the Government consolidate its hard-won peace following a brutal, 11-year conflict, and address a myriad of challenges related to good governance, security, human rights and development.