Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone has urged the Sierra Leone Police to speed up investigations on the Alleged Sexual Penetration of 5-Year old Khadija Saccoh and reminded the government of its commitment to provide a ‘State-of-the-Art’ Forensic Lab, delivering of free medical services to survivors and the provision of safe homes and psychological care for survivors of sexual violence.
The HRCSL also reminds the government of its human rights state obligations of respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights which are crucial for the overall enjoyment of rights.
In a Statement signed by its Chairperson, Patricia Narsu Ndanema on 25th June 2020 the Commission strongly condemned all forms of sexual assault against women and girls, informing that the Commission has been closely monitoring the incident which led to the death of the poor girl on 17th June 2020.
The Commission extended its sincere and deepest condolences to the bereaved family, while letting the public be on the know that acts of sexual penetration and rape contravene the Sexual Offences Act 2012, as amended by the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2019.
Section 19 of the said Act, the Commission noted, prohibits “sexual penetration of a child” whilst Section 20 prohibits “sexual touching of a child”, adding that the Amendment provides for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for perpetrators of sexual violence against minors.
The HRCSL recognized the prompt action taken by the Police to commence investigations into the matter and also commended the various groups, individuals and other organizations for actions taken in various ways to denounce such act of violence.
These actions the Commission believes, clearly demonstrate that the general public is becoming more aware about their rights and are thus in a position to denounce any incident that has the potential to affect the enjoyment of rights.
The HRCSL further informs the public that the enjoyment of human rights is the collective responsibility of all and strongly encourages the public to continue denouncing all acts immediately as they occur and to promptly report cases of rape, sexual penetration and all forms of violence perpetrated against women and children to the HRCSL, the Rainbow Center, the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and other appropriate authorities.
The HRCSL assures the public that it will continue to closely monitor the investigations and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.