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Sierra Leone News: Essay writers honoured by IPCB

The Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday 28th November 2018 presented over Le17 million to winners of the Luanda Guideline essay competition at their office at New England Ville. The IPCB organised a district wide essay competition for secondary school pupils. Pupils were to write 250 word essays on the topic “the unnecessary and arbitrary use of arrest and pre-trial is a major contributory factor to prison overcrowding in Sierra Leone. It also feeds corruption, increases the risk of torture and has significant socio-economic impacts on suspect particularly amongst people including a high proportion of women including lactating mothers, their families and communities.’ Twelve district winners were presented with Le1 million each and Le2.5 million was presented to the national winner of the competition, Facynatu Kamara, from the Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School and Le1.5 million and Le1 million was presented to Mariama Kanneh from the Ansarul Islamic secondary school in Kenema and Abdulai Bah from Bonthe Islamic Society School.   According to the national winner of the competition, Facynatu Kamara, “I feel highly honoured and humbled for winning this competition, taking into consideration the number of schools that took part in the competition.” She said the topic was complicated as a science student, but noted that with the help of the school authorities she was able to overcome the difficulties. Giving an overview of the competition, the Board Secretary of IPCB, Emerlin George, said five schools were selected from each district, noting that 71 schools entered the competition. She stressed that 12 districts were able to meet the passing mark of 50%, noting that Tonkolili, Koinadugu, Moyamba and Karena district failed to meet the criteria. She pointed out that they had a coordinating team, comprising of Council of Principals, Sierra Leone Teachers Union, and the Ministry of Education, adding that Falaba, Bombali, Kailahun and Kenema were amongst the winning districts.   The Director of AdvocAid, Rebecca Wood, said the Luanda guidelines underpin to protect the rights of citizens, adding that if such rights are not respected it will cost any country multiple effects. Giving the keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Lawrence Leeman said the introduction of the Luanda Guideline is in line to improve policing in Sierra Leone. In May 2014, the African Commission on Human and People Rights adopted the Luanda Guidelines on the conditions of arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention. These guidelines aim to contribute to the growing movement to advance pre-trial justice, recognising that improvement at the entry point to the criminal justice system positively impact through the trial and post-trial stages.

MJB/28/11/17

By Mohamed J. Bah

Thursday November 29, 2018.

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