New Human Rights Commissioners take oath of Office

Newly appointed Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) on Tuesday, 2 May 2017, subscribed to the oath of office at a ceremony at State House in Freetown. The three newly appointed commissioners are Mr Rashid Dumbuya, Rev. Dr Usman Jessie Fornah and Ms. Grace Coleridge-Taylor.

Congratulating the appointees, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma said the commissioners were coming in at a time when the country’s human rights record is at its best since independence in 1961. He pointed out that the country’s human rights commission was upgraded to a class A status by the United Nations Human Rights Council, adding that Sierra Leone is now a member of the UN Human Rights Council, indicating that it was as a result of the recognition of the significant gains and progress made to improve the country’s human rights record. “We can now boast of an excellent human rights record and for almost ten years now we have not had any political prisoner,” he said. He expressed hope that the incoming commissioners will show commitment to sustaining these efforts and hope that their experiences and qualifications will help them to discharge their duties and fly the flag of Sierra Leone.

On behalf of the appointees, Ms. Grace Coleridge-Taylor thanked President Koroma for the trust and confidence reposed in them and promised to carry out their duties with utmost diligence and to make Sierra Leone proud.

President Koroma Receives Turkish Envoy

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma last Friday 26th May 2017 received a delegation from Turkey led by the Vice President of Maarif Foundation who also doubles as Special Envoy of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey, Ambassador Dr Asson Yavuz at State House in Freetown.

Welcoming the delegation, President Koroma described his recent visit to Turkey as successful and expressed his satisfaction with the follow up action from the Turkish government. He described his Turkish counterpart as a man of action, saying that there is no doubt that Turkey is playing a significant role in the region.

The president informed the delegation about the recent visit of Turkish Airline to Sierra Leone, followed by a group of experts who examined the energy sector, while soliciting support for information and communication technology (ICT), education, health, among others. He assured the government of Turkey of making available a piece land for the construction of the Turkish Embassy premises, and reiterated the call for the commencement of operations by the Turkish Airline.

President Koroma welcomed the establishment of a Sierra Leone – Turkish Educational Center through the Maarif Foundation. The Maarif Foundation project covers primary to university education and the best students will proceed to Turkey for their higher degree education. He said a suitable location will be identified for the educational center and called for collaboration to fighting terrorism as it was not only a Turkish issue. He congratulated the people of Turkey for resisting the coup makers.

According to Special Envoy Dr Yavuz, Maarif Foundation is a Turkish Non-Governmental Organization set up by President Erdogan to provide educational support and replace schools abroad sponsored by Gulen movement. He pointed out that the delegation was in Sierra Leone to explore opportunities on how to enhance cooperation.

Dr Yavuz conveyed the profound appreciation of the Government and People of Turkey for the solidarity shown by the Government of Sierra Leone during the 15th July 2016 coup, adding that the coup makers wanted to assassinate President Erdogan.

President Koroma Commends World Bank Group

President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma Tuesday 30th May 2017 praised the Vice President and Operating Officer of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Group (WBG), Karin Finkelston and the Vice President of Development Finance of the WBG, Axel van Trotsenburg for their timely interventions in support of the private sector in Africa.

He made the acknowledgement at a meeting with the World Bank Group and MIGA executives at State House in Freetown. Government, President Koroma maintained, is set for additional engagement with the private sector in Sierra Leone.

Both Axel van Trotsenburg and Karin Finkelston thanked President Koroma for opening Monday’s Development Finance Forum and reported that strong messages on private partnership dialogue emerged during their group discussions.

Axel van Trotsenburg suggested a dialogue with all partners including the international community and noted that the interest of fragile states needs to be intensified as the Bank has seen a lot of positive feedbacks. He disclosed that the Bank would ensure that Africa and Sierra Leone in particular have a lot of engagements going forward.