(Reposted from: Sierra Express Media. June 11, 2018)
By Mohamed Y. Turay
The Human Right Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-S/L) with support from UNDP has on Thursday 7th June 2018, launched the Human Right and Peace Clubs in secondary schools on the Theme “Building a Center of Human Right in Schools” at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tower Hill in Freetown.
The ceremony attracted key stakeholders including the Executive Secretary of the Human Right Commission, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare Gender and Children’s Affairs, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, representative from UNDP, Conference of Principals, the media and few selected secondary schools respectively.
The purpose of the launching program according to the HRCSL Chairman, Rev. Osman Fornah is to strengthen clauses of human rights commission geared towards the New Direction in promoting education within the aspect of Human Right at schools.
He continued that the commission has been engaging on massive sensitization on education through the fundamental aspect of human rights in responding to the call of the President on civic education.
In his statements, the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabba noted that his ministry is the gateway through which Sierra Leone engages other nations and international organizations.
He stated that the ministry’s mandate has made it possible for Sierra Leoneans to acquire membership of International organizations like the Africa Union adding that the establishment of Human Rights and Peace Clubs across Africa is an initiative of the Africa Union.
The Minister also affirmed that the aim of the initiative is to promote respect for human rights across all ages with emphasis on secondary pupils who he described as future leaders of Sierra Leone. He disclosed that a policy that promotes human rights and peace education among generations of school children will certainly produce adult Sierra Leoneans with sound minds.
Dr. Alie Kabba prayed for Sierra Leone never to experience the human rights abuses perpetrated against innocent people again during the eleven years civil war.
He discussed that the launching of the Human Rights and Peace Clubs in secondary schools is a laudable initiative which the government of President Julius Maada Bio wholeheartedly supports.
He spoke on the need to protect and respect the rights of disabled children who he described as most vulnerable in society and discussed on the important to address sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, child marriage, orphans, vulnerable children, child trafficking, child labor and juvenile justice which are core human rights and development indicators for his administration.
He assured that the Government of President Bio will take concrete steps to endorse a national program which will be pioneered by HRCSL and relevant government ministries to actualize part of the President’s manifestoes commitment to the people of Sierra Leone. He said the Human Rights and Peace Clubs are indeed consistent with the provision of the Human Rights Act of 2007 which the previous SLPP government enacted and called for the setting up of structures, policies, and programs necessary to improve the welfare and rights of children.
The Minister concluded by ascertaining that the Human Rights and Peace Clubs will add to the existing structures designed to protect the rights of our children.