GRAND notes with grave concern the recent developments in the country, specifically the incident at the Pademba Road Correctional facility and the subsequent allegations and counter allegations.
GRAND views the riot by inmates, which occurred on Wednesday 29th April, 2020 and the resulting loss of precious lives following the response of security officers as unfortunate. Our organisation is particularly concerned that, following the above event, key members of the two major political parties and their followers have been making counter allegations to ascribe responsibility for the occurrence of the incident and in the process made statements which have the potential to inflame political animosity.
GRAND believes that the country is in a situation that requires genuine and collective national action aimed at fostering peace and social cohesion which are critical and indispensable for national development and to defeat a common enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic. Without doubt, these overarching priorities cannot be achieved in an atmosphere that fuels political antipathy, tension and resentment.
On the basis of the above, GRAND makes the following call:
1. Calls on all political parties, their operatives and other proxies to be calm and cease making incendiary statements.
2. A full independent and transparent investigation of the prisons incident be conducted, and effective measures be put in place to prevent a recurrence.
3, The rights of all Sierra Leoneans to be respected and due process followed.
GRAND is a national non-governmental organisation whose primary focus is to mobilise grassroots action for national development. It supports humanitarian efforts by responding to the needs of people and communities affected by natural disasters and conflict, the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised including women and girls, persons with disabilities (PwDs), among others. GRAND is committed to upholding the principle of the rule of law, fostering access to justice and protection and promotion of fundamental human rights in Sierra Leone.
By GRAND Media Team