Sierra Leone reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council
Sierra Leone on May 5th went through her first review at the 11th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Session in Geneva.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. Member states directly examine each other on their human rights record. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country being reviewed.
Sierra Leone Government’s delegation was led by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frank Kargbo. Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone participated in the UPR of the Human Rights Council representing National Human Rights Institutions as observers. The review is based on the reports earlier submitted by the Government of Sierra Leone, the Civil society organisations, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone and the United Nations Country Team.
During the session, a total of 42 countries including USA, UK, Morocco, Ghana, Turkey, Australia, Algeria, Uganda, Mexico, Nigeria, Australia, Algeria, Mexico and the Netherlands commented on Sierra Leones’ presentation and offered useful suggestions and recommendations with a view to improving human rights in the country.
Among recommendations identified by members of the human rights council were the need for increased financial and technical support to the Human Rights Commission to be able to fully implement its mandate, abolition of death penalty and total elimination of female genital mutilation.
Council members commended government for the implementation of the Free Health Care Policy and Presidential apology to women, and the 30 percent quota for women in Parliament among others. Sierra Leone’s report will be formally adopted at the working Group Session.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country.
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