The Human Rights Commission according to Rev. Fornah was established by an Act of Parliament in 2004 with a broad mandate to promote and protect the rights of all Sierra Leoneans and that in fulfilling such a mandate they have been investigating and enquiring into complains of human rights violations, promoting respect for human rights through public awareness and education programs, and public guidelines; using manuals and other materials explaining human rights in relation to obligations of public officials.
“We monitor and document human rights violations; cooperate with institutions including public interest NGOs and international organizations working in the field and we review existing legislation and advice government concerning compliance issues with international obligation,” Rev. Fornah said.
Rev. Fornah added that the commission is faced with serious legislative challenges since its establishment because they have not received any logistic in terms of vehicles. He said that the first set of vehicles they have were given to them by the UNDP in 2004 and that till date they have still not been replaced, noting that the HRC is the only commission in the country where the director does not have vehicle.
“Our office is facing serious challenge because the building we are using belongs to NEC and we are unable to use the internet and cannot receive phone calls because we are located in the basement,” Rev. Fornah told President Bio.
In responding, President Bio commended the commission for its contribution in maintaining peace in the country. He maintained that the commission is an important institution and that its staffs treat their work seriously, noting that the state of affairs within the commission and the constraints they are facing in performing their mandate will be amended.
“You have a very difficult task that we should take seriously,” President Bio said.
He added that as human beings people should be concerned on how they treat themselves and also to find ways to make themselves comfortable because as Sierra Leoneans people should try to make themselves happy as that is the duty of a government.
“Going forward I will be working with you on how that can impact development in the state itself,” President Bio promised.