“Section 16(b) of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Act (the Law) excludes the HRCSL from investigating any matter involving human rights violations that occurred before the coming into operation of the Law. The SCA acknowledges the response by the HRCSL that in principle it can intervene in cases of alleged human rights violations that are continuous in nature.
“Article 19 of the Law provides that the FIHR publishes an annual report on its activities and the use of the budget made available to it, and that the report is to be transmitted to the public authorities. The law is silent on whether annual and special reports are to be discussed in the Parliament.
The SCA considers it important that the enabling Law of an NHRI establishes a process whereby its reports are required to be discussed and considered by the legislature, to ensure that relevant public authorities properly consider its recommendations.
The SCA recommends that the FIHR advocates for the appropriate amendment to its enabling Law to ensure that the Parliament discusses and considers its annual, special, and thematic reports.
While noting that the FIHR publishes an annual report on its activities and the use of the budget made available to it, the SCA stresses the importance for an NHRI to prepare, publicize and widely distribute an annual report on the national situation with regard to human rights in general and on more specific matters. Annual, special, and thematic reports serve to highlight key developments in the human rights situation in a country and provide a public account, and therefore public scrutiny, of the effectiveness of an NHRI. The reports also provide a means by which an NHRI can make recommendations to government and monitor respect for human rights by government.
The SCA recommends that the FIHR ensures that its annual report highlights key developments in the human rights situation in the country and provides a public account, and therefore public scrutiny, of its effectiveness as an NHRI.
The SCA refers to Paris Principle A.3 and to its General Observation 1.11 on ‘Annual reports of NHRIs.’”