Human Rights Commission Urges Stringent Action Against ‘Kush’ Amidst Surge in Fatalities

By Amin Kef (Ranger)

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) has issued a Press Statement signed by its Chairperson, Patricia Narsu Ndanema (Mrs.),  on Thursday March 21, 2024, highlighting the alarming impact of the deadly drug “Kush” on the country’s youth.

The Commission expressed deep concern over the escalating use of Kush, particularly among young people, which has led to numerous deaths. Recently, 32 individuals reportedly died from Kush consumption, prompting a mass burial, with additional fatalities documented by authorities at the Connaught Hospital in Freetown.

HRCSL further raised an alarm over the inhumane treatment of Kush victims, including undignified burials, head shaving and physical abuse, perpetuated by some members of various communities noting that both male and female youths have fallen victim to this deadly substance.

Acknowledging the efforts of the Sierra Leone Police in combating Kush peddlers, HRCSL urged citizens to refrain from activities that endanger public welfare.

In order to address the crisis, the Commission also issued several recommendations:

1. Immediate declaration of a State of Public Health Emergency by the President, pursuant to Section 29(1) of the Constitution, to prevent further deaths and safeguard vulnerable populations.
2. Strengthening of security measures at border crossing points by security agencies, the Immigration Department, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and the National Revenue Authority.
3. Identification of hotspot areas by the Government, in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Welfare and NaCSA, to establish rehabilitation centers for substance abuse victims.

HRCSL ended by reiterating its commitment to upholding human rights in Sierra Leone and vowed to continue advocating for the protection and promotion of the rights of all citizens.


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