President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone on Wednesday met with representatives of the African Court on Human and People’s Right in Freetown to discuss modalities for the ratification of the Court’s Protocol.
President Bio, on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone, said his government would take a critical look into issues relating to the ratification and declaration of the court.
He said; ‘We are new in office but our commitment to human rights is very strong and you can be rest assured that we will give this particular issue a positive consideration.
‘We will look at it and consider the ratification and the declaration. My government will look into the issues and take positive measures about them’.
The Sierra Leonean President used the opportunity to thank the African Court team for their efforts at strengthening human and people’s rights across Africa and undertaking sensitization and public education visit to Freetown.
Justice Sylvain OrÃ©, African Court President expressed gratitude for the audience, noting that, the election of President Bio showed that democracy in Sierra Leone was growing.
He mentioned that one of the major objectives of the African Court was the protection of human rights on the continent, adding that: ‘the visit to Sierra Leone was to explain the role of the Continental Court.
‘…and to open direct dialogue process with President Bio for the ratification the protocol and make the declaration to allow Sierra Leoneans to seek redress at the African Court in terms of protection of human rights in Africa’.
Justice Ore explained that 30 other Africa countries had already ratified the protocol to the African Court while eight others had already made declarations that would allow individuals to seek redress in the continental court.
He stated that the African Court served as a continental court and an institution in the framework of the African Union that is concerned with the protection of human rights across Africa.
The Court was established by virtue of Article 1 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Protocol).
It was adopted by Member States of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in June 1998. The Protocol came into force on January 25, 2004 after it was ratified by more than 15 countries.