Bommeh Becomes a Human-Right Issue, Says Human Right Advocate

LOCATION OF BOMEH

“BOMEH” is located in the Eastern Part of Freetown along a prominent route –  Bai Bureh Road – the highway used to enter and exit the capital. It is a location prepared by government to deposit waste.

For almost a month this place has been an absolute eye sore, as if there is no waste control management in the municipality. The scene has been so disturbing that it has rendered the entire area a foul-smelling environment. This would have been a good view for the SLBC  popular program – “Way Yus”.  Is it deliberate that they failed to do a program on it?

THE DUMP SITE OF BOMEH IS LOCATED ON THE WRONG PLACE

I am one person who has also advanced and maintained the belief this dump site “BOMEH” is located at the wrong place and I am pretty sure that a scene like this would not have been seen during electioneering process in November, 2012. The ruling All Peoples Congress government would not have allowed that for a second, not to think of a whole day because it would know for sure that the main opposition party (the Sierra Leone People Party) and of course the other contending parties would have used it against them.  The election is past and I want to belief we are now working on the ‘AGENDA FOR PROPERITY’, (or am I just surmising), is the ruling party (All Peoples Congress) sure of achieving the Agenda for Prosperity with such ugly scene at Bomeh?  May I submit to fellow Sierra Leoneans that we cast our votes in favour of office holders with the expectation that the office holders would represent our communities and or countries’ best interest? Sierra Leoneans, let’ put away party politics and chat the way forward for constructive development with regards issues affecting our communities and or nation as a whole.

INDICATOR TO ACCESS HUMAN RIGHT RECORDS

Mr. President, I have heard you speak in several occasions of having a good human rights records, which is fine and a plus to any President in the 21st century.  However, for those of us who are seasoned human rights activists, the “Bomeh” scene can be used as one indicator to access that statement as it has to do with fundamental human rights like the Economic, Social and Cultural rights and Civil and Political rights.

THE OBLIGATION OF GOVERNMENT TO PROMOTE, PROTECT AND FULFILL HUMAN RIGHTS

In a state where the respect for the promotion and protection of human rights is prioritise in the National Agenda, the state has the primary responsibility to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens are promoted, protected and fulfilled. Also, for the full enjoyment of human rights, government functionaries must ensure at national level that they adopt and utilize the rights-based approach in the execution of their duties.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, in signing and ratifying international human rights documents, State parties must, at national level commit themselves to avoiding any action that would violate or lead to the violation or abuse of human rights. Also, most treaty obligations require states to take positive steps to adopt affirmative measures to create the conducive atmosphere for the enjoyment of human rights. The respect and observance of fundamental human rights by government allows an individuals and communities to fully develop.

RIGHTS AFFECTED BY THE “BOMEH” SCENE

There are so many rights affected especially for those leaving around the entire Bomeh community and these are amongst others: the right to health, the right to life, freedom of movement, safety and security of the individual.

All of these rights are contained in the international and regional human rights documents, and in Chapters ii and iii of the Sierra Leone 1991 Constitution. Sierra Leone is a signatory to all of these documents:  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPL) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR).

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to narrow down on the right to health as a preamble to the series of publications I intend to do on this story. I will carefully set out the human rights implications that the Bomen scene will cause to the inhabitants living within and among the Bomeh community, if the government fails to act promptly. It is not a matter of pleading with government; most treaty obligations require governments to take positive steps to adopt affirmative measures to create the conducive atmosphere for the enjoyment of human rights.

RIGHT TO HEALTH

According to Part iii Article 12(1) and 12(2)(b)(c )and( d), the  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides that:

  1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  2. (b).  The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;

(c).  The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases;

(d).  The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, at this juncture, I am sure all well meaning Sierra Leoneans will condemn the negligence by government to have allowed this scene to be like this for about a month now. This scene poses a threat not only to those leaving around the Bomeh community but commuters and passers-by, in several ways such as:

  • By inhaling this unpleasant odor there is the likelihood that they would contact diseases.
  • Source for the spread of other diseases through the agent of flies as it is a component of  rubbish dump
  • Breeding ground for mosquitoes thereby causing malaria
  • Disadvantage to children using the sight as play ground which will lead to cholera.

I want to recommend to government to do all it can within the shortest possible time (I cannot state a timeframe because government has not given any reason for the overspill and poor management of the site) to

  • avoid loss of lives through illness,
  • make it a more conducive and attractive thoroughfare especially for visitors using it as an entry point to the capital.
  • Furthermore, Government should consider relocating the dumpsite to avoid such embarrassing and or nauseating scene.
  • Also government should set up proper waste management system and monitor its management.

“Long live patriotic Sierra Leoneans,

Long live the blessed land that we love “Mama Salone”

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About CEN 641 Articles
Critique Echo Newspaper is a major source of news and objective analyses about governance, democracy and human-right. Edited and published in Kenema city, eastern Sierra Leone, the outlet is generally referred to as a level plying ground for the youths, women and children.

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