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The Vice President Of The Republic Of Sierra Leone Commits To Championing The Development of an ECOWAS Regional Ecosystem Against Trafficking In Persons

The Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh in his statement during a Courtesy Visit/ High Level Advocacy session in his Office led by Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, ECOWAS Commissioner of Social Affairs and Gender on Monday 02 August 2021, expressed the wish of the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone to championing the development of an ECOWAS Regional Ecosystem against Trafficking in Persons.

He said he was very excited that ECOWAS was reaching out to Member States on Human Security and Human Development issues because it is usually the Development Partners like UN, EU and others that push and support countries on such critical issues. He therefore thanked the Commissioner for her visit, commending the effort of the ECOWAS Commission in taking the lead to advocate on key elements around Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, IHL and Child Rights issues, among others. In his words, he said “I am particularly pleased that such advocacy was coming from our own ECOWAS body. With all of the challenges, we realized the importance of these elements and as a Government instituted firm actions to address them by declaring a State of Emergency on Child Sexual Abuse, and establishing reforms and institutions to address these issues”.

Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne in her speech, said that Sierra Leone is the second beneficiary in the implementation of this innovative Integrated Human Security/Protection intervention by the Commission. And that the novel approach of encouraging a Government and a Society whole response to the protection of the individual is focused on optimizing the convening authority of the ECOWAS Commission in standard setting, advocacy, facilitation and coordination, peer review and assessment. She therefore advocated to the Government of the Republic of Sierra Leone, nine actions including the establishment of Sierra Leone Protection and Human Security Integrated Coordination Mechanism comprising of Government,  establishment of a Sex Offender Register that is publicly accessible to deter repeat sex offences, support and work with Civil Society Organisations including Faith and Community Based Organisations who are usually the first responders in cases of all forms of violations; amongst others.

The Courtesy Visit/High Level Advocacy Session with the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone was followed the next day 3rd August 2021 by a Ministerial Group High Level Advocacy  Session. In attendance were seven Ministers, Deputy Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Speaker of ECOWAS Palrliament, Deputy Inspector General Of Police, Head of Immigration, Legislators and other Senior Government Officials. In her Speech, the Commissioner, Social Affairs and Gender said that the purpose of the Group Advocacy session was to secure the commitment of the Government in promoting the mainstreaming of protection and human security in their national development plan and actions during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, they plegded their commitment to the protection of the citizens in the society and made some suggestions on how best to pursue the needed coordination amongst Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The ECOWAS Integrated In-Country High Level Advocacy, Coordination and Capcaity Building of Multi-Stakeholders on the Implementation of ECOWAS IHL, TIP, GBV and Child Rights Texts in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic as a new programming approach by the Human Security and Civil Society Division in the Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs was approved by the President of the ECOWAS Commission to be implemented in five Member States in 2021 namely The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The 5 day mission features High Level

Advocacy Sessions, Media Engagement, Meeting with Civil Society Organisations and other Non State Actors includng the Private Sector, Interface with Development Partners and a 3 Day Coordination and Capacity Building workshop for Ministeries, Government agencies and other stakeholders.

At the end of the 5 day mission to the Republic of Sierra Leone, an Implementation Road Map on Enhancing Protection and Human Security in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic was adopted; with the establishment of two Coordination platforms. The first is the Sierra Leone Protection and Human Security CSO Cluster as a CSO Coordination platform. The second is the Sierra Leone Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism hosted in the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The Mechanism will provide a platform for engagement of key stakeholders, governmental (Executive and Legislature) Civil Society, Media and the Private Sector.

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