President Bio Appoints 5 HRCSL Commissioners

 

 

His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio has appointed current and former staff to serve as Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) in the persons of Hassan Samba Yarjah and Patricia Naasu Ndanema, respectively.

 

The two were appointed alongside three other persons to serve as Commissioners having gone through the criteria as enshrined in Section 4 (3) (g) of the HRCSL Act No.9 of 2004.

It could be recalled that after the dissolution of commissioners at the HRCSL, the Attorney General’s Office placed out vacancy notices for commissioners to be nominated by the public. After the nominations, a selection panel comprising civil society, inter-religious council, Public Service Commission and Paramount Chief Council representatives, interviewed ten shortlisted candidates. Among the ten, seven of them were selected and their names gazetted. The Seven names were then presented to the President by the Attorney General to appoint five of them.

 

Before the appointment of Hassan Samba Yarjah as Commissioner, he was the Complaint’s Manager at the HRCSL. Prior to that, he served as the Commission’s Eastern Region Senior Human Rights Officer. Born in Jaiama Sewafe, Kono District, Yarjah was the complaints champion in the famous 311 matter against the Ministry of Defence. That was the HRCSL’s first public inquiry. He also played key roles in the Commission’s Bumbuna Inquiry in 2012.

 

During his stay in the Eastern Region, he was known as a fearless human rights defender and according to the 2015 State of the Human Rights Report published by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Yarjah was on 27th April arrested by the Sierra Leone Police during the course of his duty whilst monitoring a demonstration and the subsequent arrest of some opposition SLPP members at their offices on Hangha road.

 

The report further stated that when Yarjah went to the Police station to enquire about the arrest of the then opposition members he  was severely beaten by the police.

 

Speaking on the appointment of the new commissioners and especially the two, the Public Information Officer, Ishmael Bayoh said, “for the President to appoint two of our own as Commissioners is the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to the HRCSL. These two people are no strangers to our plight and are seasoned human rights practitioners.”