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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

For use of information media; not an official record

Date: Thursday, 5 May 2011 (Afternoon)

Country under review: SIERRA LEONE

Documents: National report A/HRC/WG.6/11/SLE/1;
Compilation of UN information: A/HRC/WG.6/11/SLE/2;
Summary of stakeholders’ information: A/HRC/WG.6/11/SLE/3;

Troika: Slovakia, Maldives, Zambia

Concerned country - national report

- Represented by a 5 members delegation and headed by his Excellency Mr. Franklyn Bai Kargbo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

Highlights

- The new Government is in office since September 2007.
- Sierra Leone suffered from 11 years of war and therefore had not been able to respond to all of its reporting obligations under United Nations Treaty bodies.
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has been instituted after the war to collect information and to bring all responsible persons before justice.
- There is a constitutional review that is still in progress to strengthen human rights.
- 30 per cent of public servant positions will be reserved to women and improvement concerning legislations for women is in process.
- Domestic violation act of 2007 increased the awareness for protection of women and created the Family Support Unit into police stations.
- A Human Rights Commission has been established in 2004.

Interactive discussion

Number of States taking part in the discussion
Member States: 23 Inscribed on the list: 43
Observer States: 20

Positive achievements

- The establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- The health and educational reform which brought free and compulsory primary education and free health care programmes for women and children.
- The establishment of the Human Rights Commission, the Ombudsman, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Commission for Democracy and Human Rights, and the Independent Media Commission.
- The adhesion to almost all of the international core human rights treaties.
- The development of a National Action Plan on Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women and peace and security.

Issues and questions raised

- Remaining cases of gender based violence and high incidence of gender related crime.
- The under-representation of women in public institutions.
- Traditional practices, including early marriage and female genital mutilation are still widespread in the country.
- The maintaining of the death penalty.
- Significant corruption issues within the police.
- High level of poverty.
- Lack of access to the judicial service.
- Basic human rights of vulnerable groups remain threatened.
- The right to freedom of assembly has been violated without intervention from the authorities.
- Extended periods of detention without trial resulting from a lack of prosecutorial capacity.
- Harsh conditions in over-crowded prisons and detention centers.

Recommendations

- To take all the measures to eliminate female genital mutilation and prohibit it.
- To monitor the reintegration of former child combatants and avoid their recruitment in armed forces.
- To take concrete measures for the implementation of the national plan for gender equality and to ensure women representation in public life.
- To undertake efforts to enforce the prohibitions of child labour and forced labour and enhance respect for the rights of workers.
- To establish a moratorium on death penalty and to sign the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
- To sign the Convention Against Torture, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
- To prosecute all responsible for the violence during and after the 2007 elections.
- To establish an independent police board.
- To strengthen legal aid programmes and speed-up scheduling of trial dates.
- To provide for better living conditions in prisons.

Response of the concerned country

- An effective programme was implemented just after the war to avoid the recruitment of child soldiers, which is also prohibited by the Constitution.
- A commission of inquiry on the violence of the post elections of 2007 was set up with the agreement of all parties concerned, a report was produced on the issue and necessary measures were taken.
- The Government is committed to the elimination of female genital mutilation and measures are progressively implemented towards this goal.
- Discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited by the Constitution.
- A new Local Court Act which will bring judicial service at the local level will soon be implemented. Non-access to justice has also been reduced.
- The abolition of the death penalty is on the legislative agenda and is part of the review of the constitution. No prisoners are currently condemned to death.
- Ratification of international treaties is one of the top most priorities for the Government.
- Access to justice is guaranteed to women.
- Access to local justice is being implemented.
- The freedom of association bill is currently being drafted.
- No journalist has been in prison since the government is in power.

Adoption of the report by the UPR working group scheduled on
Monday 9 May, 5:30 p.m.

More information

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT ON SOMALIA

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group today also adopted, ad referendum, the report on Somalia (A/HRC/WG.6/11/L.4), following the review of that country on Tuesday, 3 May 2011.

The draft report includes 155 recommendations put forward to Somalia by various delegations of the Working Group. These recommendations will now be examined by Somalia. Its response to the recommendations will be included in the outcome report that will be adopted by the Human Rights Council at its eighteenth session in September 2011. 

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