Friday, November 30, 2007

Kadie Kandeh on the Conference on the Status of the Implementation of TRC- Truth & Reconciliation Commission Recommendations

My Role as Member of Technical Committee in Planning for Truth Reconciliation Commission Recommendations.

I represented MARWOPNET at meeting to plan for a Stakeholders Conference on the Status of Implementation of Truth and Conciliation Commission (TRC) Recommendation on the 5th October 2007, at Human Rights Commission Sierra Leone (HRSL).

The Human Rights Commission in collaboration with United Nations Integrated Office Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) planned for a Stakeholder Conference in implementing TRC recommendations which was held on the 19th and 20th November 2007 at the Bank Complex Kingtom, Freetown.

I represented MARWOPNET together with Civil Society Organizations in planning for the Conference. In planning for this day, various sub-committees were formed like; Secretarial committee, Media and Publicity Committee, Printing and Distribution committee, Catering Committee, and Budget committee. Since my organization was in the secretarial committee, below is our duties we performed for the planning of the conference.
Secretariat Committee – Members- Amnesty International, UNIOSIL, FAWE and MARWOPNET – responsibilities – Participants in putting together a budget proposal for the conference; Source funding that is required to facilitate the program; Monitors to ensure proper accountability and transparency with regards to funds deposited in the conference basked fund are used for the intended purpose; and provide the conference working documents like invitation letters, minutes taking and preparing report after the conference.

We held series of meetings in planning for conference, the original date for the conference was the 14th and 15th November 2007, but for the Inauguration of the President, it was shifted to 19th and 20th 2007, at the Bank Complex Kingtom. We were working relentlessly to meet this day, all arrangements were successful. MARWOPNET and FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists) were overseeing the food served by the Caterer.

On the Opening Ceremony on the Tuesday 19th 2007,

On the Monday 19th 2007, Opening of the Conference, we ushered participants to their respective seats. The program began with Christian and Muslim prayers. The Chairman of the Human Rights Commission welcomed participants and highlighted the purpose of the conference.

ERSG of UNIOSIL said that for nearly 10 years Sierra Leone was at war with itself which virtually destroyed not only the institutions of Government, but also the very socio-economic and cultural fabric that held this country together.

Formal Chairman or TRC, Bishop Humper, giving the Keynote Address recommend that, it is his fervent hope and prayer that at the end of the Conference Sessions, tangible actions would be recommended for the faithful implementation of recommendation of the Commission (TRC). The object of the Commission in accordance with its mandate (Section 6:1) of the TRC “to create an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law related to armed conflict in Sierra Leone”.

The support ultimate implementation of this program will go a long way to satisfying the needs of our victims. The Civil Society Organizations are positioned in the country to undertake the lobby with government and internal communities for the realization this goal.

The President of the Amputee and War Wounded Association on behalf of victims of the civil war in Sierra Leone said “It is always importance to present a clear picture of what the victims are going through at the moment. A good number of amputee, war widow and children have been forced into begging in our main street victims of sexual violence continue to suffer in silence due to the difficulties in accessing health care and in some cases due to the lack of health care facilities.

His Excellency the President Ernest Bai Koroma was suppose to do the formal opening of conference, but due to some circumstances he sent the Minister of Works, Mr. John Saad to do the formal opening of the conference. A member of the Technical Committee gave the vote of thanks at the of the opening.

In the Plenary Sessions the objectives of the conference was discussed, presentation of the matrix on the status of implementation and creation of working groups and discussion on working guidelines. Since I was placed in group 3, this group includes Children, Women and Youths. We were placed in this group because, MARWOPNET engaged in mainstreaming women’s voices and active participation in conflict prevention, management, engendered post conflict reconstruction and peace building. As a civil society organization our role was to discuss the recommendation under women, youth and children. To see how far government has gone in implementing the recommendations, make vital suggestions on those that have not been implemented and make recommendations.

At the end of the conference a Communiqué was read and corrected which is to be given to government, UN, International Organizations.

It was an educative program, it gave me the opportunity to know about various civil society organizations and interact with so many. What interested me was the discussions between the civil society groups on various topics.

At the closing of conference, we were recognized the Technical Committee for making the conference a success.

Food was good and delicious, served three times a day. This conference broadened my horizon.

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