According to the SDI Program Director George Mustapha the new NGO Policy contains some unpleasant provisions that would impose severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression and safe space.
Government, according to Mustapha failed to take their recommendation into consideration, stating that they made extensive analysis of the police to see whether or not it can fit in a democratic state.
“We have engaged the Minister of Development and Economic Planning because it is a new government to bring our concerns to,” Mustapha said; adding that the Minister asked them to bring their own gap analysis into the policy.
The NGO Policy in itself has some positive aspects like ensuring maximum benefit for the sierra Leonean populace and national capacity building amongst others but however civil societies say this policy will be detrimental to the operations of their organizations in many ways which includes compelling civil societies to associate with umbrella bodies
It could be recalled that on the 15th of May this year, the Human Rights Defenders Network put out a press statement pointing out some obnoxious provisions that would impose severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression and according to them; this contravenes Article 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
According to the Executive Secretary Human Rights Defenders Sierra Leone Alphonsus Gbanie one of the favorable aspects of the new NGO Policy is to ensure maximum benefits of the country’s population, citing that the country will be benefiting from NGO activities in whatever they are doing.
Accountability according to Gbanie is another positive benefit from the new NGO Policy, stating that they are accountable and want themselves to be more accountable to the communities they are representing.