By Amin Kef (Ranger)
Officials of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), on the 3rd March, 2023 paid a courtesy call on the European Union (EU) Delegation to Sierra Leone at their Leicester Peak Office.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Joseph Benmanking Kamara, in a statement, mentioned how the Commission extended request for a courtesy call on the delegation because of their monitoring role to ensure that human rights are observed.
Commissioner Hassan Samba Yarjah elaborated on the Commission’s Elections Preparedness Strategy which he said has five pillars – public education, monitoring, complaints handling, capacity building (District Human Rights Committees, Law Enforcement Officials, and Staff) and a Special Report on the Elections.
He noted that the Commission has made huge gains in its service delivery, especially through complaints handling adding that the Mobile Complaint Hearing which was introduced by the Commission has provided the much needed service to deprived communities.
Commissioner Yarjah said it is the view of the Commission to have Commissioners resident in the regions for the June elections to help profile and improve on response time to complaints on elections.
The EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Manuel Alexander Muller expressed delight in meeting the HRCSL formally. He said most of their programs were cross-cutting hence they have been working with other international organizations to support various initiatives. He said the Commission can tap into some of the initiatives through the other development partners to support its efforts to the elections.
It was made known that the EU has committed over Seven Million Euros in 2023 alone to Sierra Leone, working with ECOWAS and UNDP to promote credible, peaceful and transparent elections.
In a statement issued by the EU, it was categorically stated that the organ or body does not favor any political party or candidate but rather the Mission wants to see credible election processes and voting where the votes of everyone will count.
The EU mission also stressed that its mission is to continue supporting democratic governance in Sierra Leone just like they have done over the years and will continue engaging the citizens on the elections.