The government of Sierra Leone has rejected the United Nations Universal Period Review recommendation advocating the promotion of same sex marriage and same sex sexual activities.

The government also rejected targeting steps to be taken by government for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation.

This was disclosed at the 48th Regular Session of the Universal Period Review in Geneva where the Sierra Leone delegation revealed the number of recommendations adopted by Sierra Leone.

The Delegation noted that the county has adopted 216 from the 274 recommendations given.

The Universal Periodic Review is UN system which involves a periodic review of the Human Rights records of all 193 UN Member States.

In a statement, the Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, Steven I. Lansana, some of the recommendations that the government accepted include:

27 – 45 which highlights its commitments to support the work of the Human Rights Commission in the protection and promotion of human rights as proffered by 13 countries at the UPR and also; its commitments to continue the constitutional review process being one of its voluntary pledges
Recommendations 1-10 on the abolition of the death penalty
Recommendation 14-15 on the ratification of the convention on migrant workers and their families
Recommendation 107-115 notes government’s acceptance of freedoms of expression. This has also been realized following government repeal of the seditious libel provision in the Public Order Act and Criminal Procedure Act.
Recommendation 258 – protecting children from early and forced marriage
Recommendation 84-86 which highlight conditions in our corrections services i.e. over detention and prison reforms.
Recommendations 232 – 256 which highlight government’s commitments to the rights of women and girls, in terms political participation, enacting the gender bill, gender equality and more…. (The Gender Empowerment Bill is slowing progressing).

Some of the recommendations that were noted, but not accepted include:

Recommendations 174-179, 192 – 200, 209-212 targeting steps to be taken by government for the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation
Recommendations 46-53 promoting same sex marriage and same sex sexual activities.

Executive Secretary, Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), Joseph Kamara, disclosed that these last set of recommendations will form the fourth cycle of the Universal Periodic Review Process (UPR).

He said since 2016, the country has done remarkably well in terms of implementing some of the recommendations that were given, noting that the Commission was able to produce both a mid-term report as well as a national state report that was presented on behalf of the human rights practices and human rights situation as reflected in the country and as adopted by the country.

While he urged government to treat the recommendations with utmost seriousness, for they are not mere words, Deputy Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Steven I. Lansana, noted that there are real capital incentives, adding it is up to government to accept or reject some of them.