ACEPA holds a National Seminar on the theme “FoRB: Basic Human Rights for Sustainable Development

The primary objective of the National Seminar organized under the auspices of FoRBLN and facilitated by ACEPA in collaboration with members of The Sierra Leone Parliamentary caucus on FoRB sought to encourage dialogue and promote sustainable peace in the country. The seminar provided the platform for fruitful discussion on FoRB, emphasis was placed on the importance of fostering religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence, and respect for one another.

Speaking on the theme Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB): A basic Human Right for Sustainable Peace and Development in Sierra Leone. The Role of Parliament and Other Stakeholders, the Guest Speaker noted that even though 77% of the people of Sierra Leone are Muslims, and only 2% Christians, adherents of both religious faiths live harmoniously together and there is no indication of dominance of one religion over the other. Mindful of the fact that Sierra Leone has a turbulent past, the Guest Speaker entreated participants not to take the current peace that prevails in the country for granted but rather work tirelessly in engaging communities to pipe down on hate speech and promote good neighborliness and tolerance.

He noted that Freedom of Religion or Belief ‘’is a Soul and Heart-Connected Right’’ and should not be toyed with by the Government or any other body for that matter. Even though FoRB is a fundamental right enshrined in most Constitutions including the Constitution of Sierra Leone, there are exceptions to these rights. Notably, on issues of defence and national security; public safety (in times of pandemic such as Covid 19 or Ebola); public morality, etc.

Discussions following the Guest Speaker’s presentation were lively and engaging. MPs, Faith leaders, CSOs and the media were asked to redouble their efforts and advocate for national cohesion, tolerance and respect for the right of minorities. The national seminar helped raise the visibility of the Sierra Leone Parliamentary Caucus on FoRB and connected MPs to the wider public, especially on issues relating FORB, the national seminar also helped raise awareness about FoRB and unearth limitations of religious tolerance and inter-communal harmony in Sierra Leone.

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