The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) over the weekend engaged approximately 105 pupils and teachers from ten selected primary and secondary schools in Kabala, Koinadugu District. The event which took place at the Dr. Francis Moses Memorial Hall was support with funds by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through Restless Development.
The engagement is part of the Commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the rights of all in the country. It has conducted community outreach campaigns in primary and secondary schools nationwide on right based issues.
Those campaigns and engagements have resulted in the establishment of Human Rights and Peace Clubs in some schools in Freetown and other parts of the country with the aim of building the culture of human rights.
In a bid to strengthen their capacity on laws, policies and human rights instruments protecting and promoting women and children’s rights,
The selected schools include; Kabala Secondary School for Girls, Loma Senior Secondary School, Bintumani High School, Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School, Yogomaia Secondary School, FAWE Secondary School, UMC Secondary School and Pedmal International.
The trainers presented on key international and Regional Human Rights Instruments Protecting Women and Girls, Domestic Laws and Policies Protecting Women and Girls, The Child Rights Act of 2007 and the Effects of Harmful Traditional Practices on Women and Girls.
Senior Head Girl of Loma Senior Secondary School, Rugiatu Barrie said she learnt a lot about children’s rights and responsibilities. “I now have very good knowledge on the Sexual Offences Act especially the penalties for any breach. I will teach my colleagues who are not fortunate to be part of this engagement,” she said. She entreats her colleagues to speak out whenever their rights are violated or abuse and also report cases of alleged sexual penetration and rape to the police.
The pupils recommended sustained public education and radio discussion on these key human rights instruments protecting women and children’s rights and also urged that pupils in other schools within the district benefit from such engagement.
The Commission’s Different Abilities and Non-Discrimination Officer; Abu Bakarr Kamara encouraged the pupils to concentrate on their academic work as it is the only way they can achieve great things. He also urged them to always remember their rights alongside their responsibilities.