Land they say is one of the ingredients that define humanity because people normally dwell, live, work, die and are buried on land. All around the world there is sense of entitlement, attachment, and issues around livelihoods and right to own land.
In this part of the world when people take other people’s lands they are denying these people of their basic right to humanity because all they have and own could be the land in question.
Joseph Rahall said the residents told him that they will be victimized by SOCFIN if they are aware that they spoke to journalists about their suffering.
“We received your invitation and are afraid to come, even as we speak in Sahn Malen the military personnel continue to harass and intimidate us; they have beaten a number of women and girls in the chiefdom,” Joseph Rahall said on behalf of the residents.
He further said that Hon. Sheka Sama told that his home in the chiefdom was raided by military people because his family were harvesting their own plantation.
The intimidation by the military personnel in the chiefdom according to Joseph Rahall is still high, adding that there has been an assurance by the government to put a stop to it and that they are doing their own investigation.
Joseph Rahall added that their report in Malen came as a result of the complaint they received from the residents, stating that in 2012 FIAN international contacted them to see the impact of SOCFIN operations on the lives of the ordinary people.
According to Joseph Rahall they received a grant from Christian Aid to undertake the project intervention for the Malen people.
Giving the keynote address Commissioner Edward Sam said land governance has been gaining attention over the last 10 years in Sierra Leone and that the issues touch on many sectors, and that action should therefore be initiated by representatives from these different sectors.
The report according to Commissioner Edward Sam found out that the affected communities have lost access to and control over their lands and have been exposed to serious human rights violations and abuses since 2011.
“Several issues that emerged spanned from the right to land, food, water and a healthy environment, to workers’ rights, women’s right to the elderly and the right to education” Commissioner Edward Sam said.