With Funding from OSIWA…   LAB, LEWAF & HRCSL Hold Open Field Legal Education Exhibition in Wellington

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By Amin Kef Sesay

On International Women’s Day ,the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles called on women to stop suffering in silent by ‘speaking out, speaking loud and speaking clear’ on abuses they are subjected to or when they are not valued by their partners, relatives and others.

She made that call while opening the OSIWA-funded Open Field Legal Education Exhibition organized by the Lady Ellen Women’s Aid Foundation (LEWAF) at the Foamex Field Calaba Town.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles called on the women to fight for equality, demand respect, contribute to the upkeep of the home, know when a partner mean well and beware of men who come around to exploit pretending they are in love but leave as soon as they have milked them dry.

She said women have committed serious offences such as murdering their husbands because they have refused to speak out when they were abused by these husbands. She said women have defaulted in repayment loans because their male partners have stolen the money and abandoned them to grapple with the consequences.

The Chairperson for the exhibition who doubles as Chair for the Human Rights Commission – Sierra Leone (HRCSL), Ms. Patricia Ndanema speaking on Women Builders seized the moment to recognize two former commissioners of the HRCSL – Justice Jamesina King and Ms. Yasmine Jusu-Sheriff – for their outstanding role in the passage of the Gender Laws which she underlines offer protection for the rights of women.

She praised LEWAF for organizing the Exhibition noting that women suffer abuses due to lack of education and as a result do not make use of the laws. She called on the women to henceforth make use of the laws and noted that HRCSL is always at their disposal should they need help.

The Executive Director of LEWAF, Mohamed Bobor Jalloh said his organization has trained 1,000 women as Community Based Justice Advocates on the Gender Laws for six-months. He said the Community Based Justice Advocates will be helping other women in their respective communities by educating them on the laws to prevent abuses and moreover help those who are abused to seek justice.

The exhibition was climaxed with a skit educating people on how victims of Sexual penetration could contact the police, penalties for relatives attempting to compromise sexual penetration cases, how women who are subjected to domestic violence seek justice, how women can use the law to stop relatives of their deceased husbands from denying them their rights on issues of inheritance in the name of customary law and practice.

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