Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has expressed his institution's fears over what he referred to as the widening gap between men and women in the fields of political representation and employment, among others.
Speaking at the opening of a dialogue forum on the development of a National Human Rights Action Plan organized by HRC-SL, Commissioner Edward Sam said: "The widening gap and gross inequality between men and women and the widespread discrimination against women is unacceptable."
He voiced the urgent need to bridge the divide and remove all bottlenecks that limit women's enjoyment of all categories of human rights, as no society can develop without the meaningful participation of women. Commissioner Sam said in pursuit of his commission's mandate, they have accelerated the pace of change in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
"We have consistently fulfilled our statutory mandate of producing the state of human rights report. By next week, the 2009 state of human rights report will be out," he informed. The HRC-SL chairperson maintained that Sierra Leone was a party to several international human rights treaties and therefore must fulfill its reporting obligation to international treaty bodies.
Chairperson of the parliamentary human rights committee, Hon. Elizabeth Lavalie, said parliament has been very proactive in the area of human rights. She said even though the Child Rights Act has already been enacted by parliament, sexual offences across the country continue to be on the upsurge.