The Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Rev. Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah launched the special election report and newsletter past Tuesday at the Civil Service Training College, Tower Hill Freetown.
Speaking during the launching, the HRCSL Chairman said, the Commission was actively involved during the 2018 elections and undertook several activities in a bid to enhance a culture of respect for human rights before, during and after the elections. He highlighted that the HRCSL held a roundtable discussion with media practitioners on hate speech, conducted an inter- senior secondary school debate competition on human rights and elections, held a stakeholder symposium on elections preparedness, organized a national conference on human rights and elections, trained district human rights committees in the regions on elections monitoring, established an elections situation room and monitor polling day in the first and second round of elections nation-wide.
Explaining the methodology used for the election report, Commissioner Rashid Dumbuya said mixed methods and techniques that included quantitative, qualitative, observation and focus group discussions were adopted. He opined that HRCSL deployed a total of 16 teams each compromising three to four people to monitor the elections. The regional officers were supported by two representatives from each of the district human rights committees.
Speaking about the scope of the report, the Commissioner said it was narrative of the various election related activities undertaken in fulfillment of the mandate to protect and promote human rights in Sierra Leone.
The reports recommended on the area of the Sierra Leone Police that the over-securitization of public elections may not only be intimidating to voters but can also serve as a precursor for violation of fundamental human rights.
The report is divided in to four parts. Part one deals with legal, institutional and policy frameworks governing human rights and elections in Sierra Leone. Part two deals with capacity building, public education and awareness raising activities on human rights and elections undertaken by HRCSL, part three touches on the monitoring of the human rights situation during the electoral process, whilst part four, five, six and seven deals with post elections monitoring and handling of human rights elections-related abuses and violations, findings and observations, successes and challenges and recommendations respectively.