• Education

Training Police, local court officials and paralegals – Sierra Leone

London,

Moisa Saidu, Africa HRE Project Coordinator at Amnesty International Sierra Leone, reports on the delivery of a series of specialized trainings for police, local court officials and paralegals to promote access to justice through empowerment of rights holders in poor and marginalized communities.

When it comes to rights we are too quick to benefit, but when it comes to obligations we take the back seat and point fingers. Today, in this room we all have the obligation to work together and ensure that women, girls, and men have access to justice in their respective communities.
Solomon A. Kossue, Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Family Support Unit

Amnesty International Sierra Leone is delivering a series of specialized trainings for police, local court officials and paralegals to promote access to justice through empowerment of rights holders in poor and marginalized communities.

What was the main objective of the training and how did you involve the target audience?

The main objective of the project is to increase the understanding of the local courts, paralegal representatives and the Family Support Unit of Sierra Leone with regards to the basic information and tools needed to facilitate access to justice for women and girls in marginalized communities. Another goal is to bring the different players together who would otherwise have difficulty working together. Using participatory techniques such as Buzz Groups, Debates, Presentations, Case Studies and Role-play, participants demonstrate their understanding of the fact that all human rights are indivisible, interdependent, interrelated and of equal importance for human dignity. Participants together discuss relevant laws and their respective roles in preventing abuses and violations by identifying and following-up on the daily human rights abuses that women and girls face in poor and marginalized communities.

How was the project organized and supported?

Amnesty International Sierra Leone planned and delivered a series of specialized trainings for the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone police, local court officials and paralegals in Port Loko, Kenema and Bo districts respectively. Three days of specialized training was delivered in each district and this training was divided into two parts. The first part focused on a detailed analysis of the origin, meaning and characteristics of human rights; government obligations, legal norms and domestic application of international instruments; understanding and determining violations of economic, social and cultural rights; and the provision of remedies (in particular monitoring and adjudicating bodies at the national, regional and international levels). Part two of the training focused on examining the national laws on succession rights for spouses, relatives and dependents.

The meeting ended with the development of an action plan for more collaborative work on the issues identified during the training which was recommended and championed by Yvette S. Kamanda a senior representative from the Network Movement for Justice and Development.

The trainings were part of the ‘Enhancing Coordination for Rights and Equality’ (ECORD) project developed by Amnesty International Sierra Leone as part of the Access to Justice in Rural Sierra Leone project coordinated by Amnesty International Netherland’s Special Program on Africa. The next specialized training will take place in Moyamba district.

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