Human Rights: Lomé Peace Agreement

ARTICLE XXIV GUARANTEE AND PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

1. The basic civil and political liberties recognized by the Sierra Leone legal system and contained in the declarations and principles of Human Rights adopted by the UN and OAU, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, shall be fully protected and promoted within Sierra Leonean society.

2. These include the right to life and liberty, freedom from torture, the right to a fair trial, freedom of conscience, expression and association, and the right to take part in the governance of ones country.

ARTICLE XXV HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

1. The Parties pledge to strengthen the existing machinery for addressing grievances of the people in respect of alleged violations of their basic human rights by the creation, as a matter of urgency and not later than 90 days after the signing of the present Agreement, of an autonomous quasi-judicial national Human Rights Commission.

2. The Parties further pledge to promote Human Rights education throughout the various sectors of Sierra Leonean society, including the schools, the media, the police, the military and the religious community.

3. In pursuance of the above, technical and material assistance may be sought from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and other relevant international organizations.

4. A consortium of local human rights and civil society groups in Sierra Leone shall be encouraged to help monitor human rights observance.

ARTICLE XXVI HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

1. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission shall be established to address impunity, break the cycle of violence, provide a forum for both the victims and perpetrators of human rights violations to tell their story, get a clear picture of the past in order to facilitate genuine healing and reconciliation.

2. In the spirit of national reconciliation, the Commission shall deal with the question of human rights violations since the beginning of the Sierra Leonean conflict in 1991. This Commission shall, among other things, recommend measures to be taken for the rehabilitation of victims of human rights violations.

3. Membership of the Commission shall be drawn from a cross-section of Sierra Leonean society with the participation and some technical support of the International Community.

This Commission shall be established within 90 days after the signing of the present Agreement and shall, not later than 12 months after the commencement of its work, submit its report to the Government for immediate implementation of its
recommendations.

Implementation History

1999

Minimum Implementation

Neither the Human Rights Commission nor the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were established in 1999. According to the Secretary General’s report on UNAMISL, the Government of Sierra Leone asked the office of UNHCR for developing draft statues for these commissions.1

  • 1. Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL, S/1999/1223, December 6, 1999.
2000

Minimum Implementation

According to the Secretary General’s December 2000 report on UNAMSIL, UNHCR and UNAMSIL assisted the Sierra Leone Government “to draft necessary legislation to establish the Human Rights Commission.” Introduction of the legislation in Parliament was expected following a consultative conference on the Commission to be held on December 15 and 16. The main problem was gaining sufficient financial support for the establishment of the Commission.2 On December 16 and 17, 2000, UNAMSIL organized a consultative workshop on the proposed national Human Rights Commission.3

  • 2. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2000/1999, December 15, 2000.
  • 3. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2001/228, March 14, 2001.
2001

Minimum Implementation

Even after consultative support from UNHCR and UNAMSIL on the proposed legislation on establishing national Human Rights Commission, the Government did not introduce a bill in Parliament. 

2002

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2003

Minimum Implementation

No developments observed this year.

2004

Intermediate Implementation

Finally, in May 2004, “the Parliament gave the green light to the creation of a human rights commission, mandated under a peace pact signed in 1999 to end the decade-long civil war. The five-member human rights commission is to include two women and a delegate representing various civil groups."4 President Kabbah signed the law on August 20, 2004.5 (For information on Truth and Reconciliation, see the Truth and Reconciliation section.)

2005

Intermediate Implementation

“Progress has been made towards the establishment of a national human rights commission. The Government has authorized the Ministry of Justice to proceed with the establishment of the commission and requested technical assistance from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UNAMSIL, supported by OHCHR, is collaborating with the Ministry in this regard to select and appoint commissioners in accordance with the Human Rights Commission Act. In response to a request from the Government, OHCHR has contracted a consultant, who arrived on 24 November, to facilitate consultations and provide advisory services for the establishment of the commission."6

  • 6. "Secretary General’s Report on UNAMSIL," S/2005/777, December 12, 2005, p. 9.
2006

Intermediate Implementation

According to a UN report: “On 3 October 2006, the Parliament confirmed the nomination by the President of five commissioners to serve as members of the commission. When fully operational, the commission is expected, among other activities, to act upon individual complaints concerning human rights violations, encourage ratification and implementation of international human rights instruments and promote awareness of human rights through information, education and research."7

  • 7. "Secretary General’s Report on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone," S/2006/922, November 28, 2006, p. 9.
2007

Intermediate Implementation

According to a UN report: “A National Human Rights Commission was established and efforts are under way to build its capacity. The national action plan for human rights is still being developed. Four bills relating to women’s and children’s rights, including the Registration of Customary Marriages and Divorces Bill, the Intestate Succession Bill, the Domestic Violence Bill and the Children’s Rights Bill, which were recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, have been enacted. In addition, progress has been made in mainstreaming human rights in civil society organizations, local district councils and Government institutions."8

  • 8. "Secretary General’s Report on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone, S/2007/704, December 4, 2007, p. 6.
2008

Full Implementation

According to a UN report: “Considerable progress has been made in promoting respect for human rights, particularly in building the capacity of the national Human Rights Commission to monitor, protect and promote human rights and to review the status of implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. With support from UNIOSIL and UNDP, the Human Rights Commission has established fully functioning offices, recruited some core staff, completed a brainstorming retreat for the development of a five-year strategic plan, developed rules of procedure for the handling of complaints and created a framework for the production of its first human rights report. It is also in the process of finalizing its administrative and human resource manual, as well as its financial policies. During the reporting period, the Commission received and investigated 70 complaints with the support of the United Nations.”8

  • 8. "Secretary General’s Report on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone," S/2008/281, April 29, 2008, p. 8.