The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabba has said, that the establishment of Human Rights and Peace clubs across Africa is an initiative of the African Union and therefore, Sierra Leone’s membership of the AU is providing benefit to its citizens.

Dr. Alie Kabba in his welcome statement during the launching of the Human Rights and Peace Clubs in Secondary Schools at the Ministry’s Conference Hall in Freetown stated that his Ministry is the gateway through which Sierra Leone engages with other nations and international organisations noting that this mandate has made it possible for Sierra Leone to acquire member of international organisations like the AU.

Dr. Kabba assured his audience that as a responsible government, they owe it to the citizens that never again will the nation witness human rights abuses like those they experienced during the civil war. ‘There is no better group of people to sow and cultivate a culture rooted in respect for the rights of fellow citizens and respect for the rule of law, than school children’, he added.

The New Direction, Dr. Kabba maintained will apply the ‘Child First approach’ which aims at ensuring the survival, protection and development of children including disabled and vulnerable children through the implementation of policy actions and programmes to address sexual violence, teenage pregnancy, child trafficking, child labour and juvenile justice among other issues.

‘With the launching of the Human Rights and Peace Clubs in Secondary Schools today, this government is taking concrete steps to endorse a national programme to actualize part of His Excellency, Julius Maada Bio’s manifesto commitment to the people of Sierra Leone’, Dr. Alie Kabba concluded.

The Deputy Minister for Basic Education, Madam Emily Kadiatu George in her keynote address before the launch of the programme stated that the New Direction focuses especially on educational growth of youths and their peaceful co-existence noting that the more students are exposed to activities that promote positive images of other people’s culture, religion, uniqueness, social identity, the more likely they find faults with one another and the more they are able to live and work together for the common good of society.

The Deputy Minister of Basic Education implored all individuals, community leaders, teachers, NGOs, etc. to join the Human Rights Commission in Sierra Leone to extensively and effectively run peace clubs in secondary schools. “To the Principals, staff and administrators of schools where these clubs are established, I implore you to maximize use of the opportunity to enhance the work of the commission”, she concluded.

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Haji- Kella; the Chairman, Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone, Rev. Dr. Osman J. Fornah and a representative of the Head of Conference of Principals also made meaningful contributions to the launching ceremony.

The launching of the Human Rights and Peace Clubs and Guidelines and presentations formed part of the highlights of the launching ceremony.

Present were: the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Nimatulai Bah-Chang; the Director of Human Rights and Compliance, Mr. Patrick M. Koroma;  and the Director for Policy Planning, Research and Knowledge Management, Mr. Marlon Bockarie-Conteh in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other officials of the various MDAs.