Pan Africa ILGA condemns the continued hate speech and threats towards people of the LGBTI community in Sierra Leone particularly as a result of the radio discussion aired on 8th November 2011.
Present for the interview was Communication Officer of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Mr. Henry Sheku. We note the words of Mr. Henry Sheku, when said, “The Commission is not working on LGBTI human rights, because the law of Sierra Leone does not give the Commission mandate to advocate and support LGBTI human rights”.
The Constitution of Sierra Leone, Chapter III talks about the recognition and protection of fundamental human rights. It states “Whereas every person in Sierra Leone is entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, has the right, whatever his race, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest, to each and all of the following—
a. life, liberty, security of person, the enjoyment of property, and the protection of law;
b. freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association;
c. respect for private and family life, and
d. protection from deprivation of property without compensation;
At this point we also wish to remind the Commission that human rights are universal. These are absolute, fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.
We would like to see the government consult with human rights and civil society organisations, in an effort to change the laws of Sierra Leone’s laws, so they are inclusive of LGBTI rights and protection of these rights. The governments’ role cannot only be limited to the changing of laws, but should also put in place measures to administer and propel the success of these laws.
Beyond the legislative exclusions, social attitudes and traditions are hostile to homosexuality based on religion, with most citizens affiliating with a Christian or Muslim sect that subscribes to traditional gender roles.
In 2004, Fanny Ann Eddy, who was the founder of Sierra Leone’s the first LGBT-rights organization was brutally murdered. Such crimes of hate are unacceptable and we call on the community of Sierra Leone to accept the diversity that is humanity. We do not want this to be the same reality for anymore else in the country.
We urge the Government and Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone
a. to promote respect for human rights and a culture of human rights;
b. to promote the protection, development and attainment of human rights;
c. to monitor and assess the compliance of human rights in the country.
For more information, please contact:
Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay
Linda RM aumann