Parliament of Sierra Leone Launches Freedom of Religion

Sierra Leone’s Parliament has on Friday, 20th January 2023, officially launched the Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), in Committee Room One, Parliament Building in Freetown.

The program was organized by African Center for Parliamentary Affairs, a Non-governmental organization with support from the United Kingdom Government.

Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina while launching the program on behalf of the Hon. The speaker of Parliament thanked the organizers of Freedom of Religion or Belief and went on to recall his visit to Viena, where he saw diverse religious believers.

He stated that he envisioned a challenge on religious tolerance the world over and celebrates Sierra Leone with enthusiasm and went further to reveal many instances of religious tolerant, giving examples of the Late President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah was a Pious Muslim, but his Wife was a Christian and similarly, the current President, Rtd. Brigadier General Julius Bio is a Christian and his wife is a Muslim.

The Hon. leader of C4C used the opportunity to advise the people of the world to follow the example of Sierra Leone and be tolerant of the beliefs of other people.

Speaking during the launching, Executive Director of the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs, Rashid Rahman who is also one of the organizers of the program said they were launching the Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Sierra Leone, and it comprises ga roup of members of Parliament who have voluntarily signed up to champion the course of freedom of religious beliefs in Sierra Leone.

He further stated the objective of the program which he said is to have champions within Parliament who will always champion issues of freedom of religion or belief in Sierra Leone.

He disclosed that they have longed to start the program and have been working with MPs, the media, inter-religious councils, and civil society.

He reiterated that Sierra Leone was chosen on the belief of promoting religious tolerance, harmony, and peaceful coexistence as the country is committed to that kind of practice.

Chairman Parliamentary Caucus on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Parliament, Hon. Sama Sandy cited that the program is piloted in Sierra Leone and the Gambia, adding that the objective of the program is to enhance and promote more religious tolerance in Sierra Leone.

He said the process started in 2018, when they collaborated with religious organizations in Sierra Leone, to promote religious oneness.

The Chairman also stated that the promotion of religious tolerance is vital for the development of the State.

A representative from the Inter-Religious Councils also made meaningful contributions.

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Hawanatu Sanjah Committee Clerk to the Caucus during the vote of thanks, thanked the Leadership of Parliament and the organizers for promoting religious tolerance in Sierra Leone and urged members to be champions of Freedom of Religion or Belief.

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