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Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Forum
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Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Forum

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  1. Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Forum Can TRC Recommendations Help Foster an Enabling Environment? Oluniyi Robbin-Coker Sierra Leone Network/Civil Coalition for Truth and Reconciliation

  2. Re-examining the Definition of Investment Commitment of money or capital in order to gain a financial return: toinvest one’s savings in stocks and bonds. • Spending or devotion for future advantage or benefit: invests much time and energy in obtaining a good education. • Moral or psychological devotion, as to a purpose; commit: “Men of our generation are invested in what they do, women in what we are.” (Shana Alexander). Let’s invest in an enabling environment Source –

  3. Some Criteria for Selecting an Investment Destination • Political Stability • Robust “democratic” institutions (reflecting accountability) or a strong dictatorship • Freedom of expression • Ease/Cost of Doing Business • Corruption index, rent seeking • Robust, efficient and accessible financial system • Perceptions of Justice - fair and consistent application of the rule of law • Independence of the judiciary • Redress of grievance • Security – risk assessment and management • Human Rights Record – U.S. aid and investment policy • Social Factors – labour force • Health: sound, dependable workforce • Education: availability of required skill sets Without the emotional ties – Is Sierra Leone a good investment destination?

  4. What Is the Assessment of the Sierra Leone Investment Climate? Department for International Development - March 2004 World Bank - May 2004 Government of Sierra Leone (GOSL) September 2001 • Poor judicial and regulatory environment • Outdated laws • Judiciary weak and barely functional • Shallow and ineffective financial system • Devastated infrastructure • High perception of risk • Weak civil society involvement in P.S.D. • Donor policies may impede domestic P.S.D. • Inequitable and inefficient structure • Domination by foreigners whose interests may run contrary to those of Sierra Leone & its citizens • High taxes and interest rates, • Fragile security situation • Limited foreign exchange availability. • Corruption • Limited access to financing • Poor tax administration • Weak institutional framework • Shortage of technically skilled manpower • Shortage of managerial skills • High cost of raw materials • Negative image of the country abroad Source: Ministry of Trade & Industry (S.L.) 2005

  5. TRC Report – Background Who created the TRC? • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established via the Lomé Peace Accord and enabled by an act of Sierra Leone’s legislature in 2000. Civil society played a large role in pushing for the TRC, and, in conjunction with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, helped shape its design. What is the TRC Final Report? • The TRC Final Report is the document complied and produced by the Commission embodying its investigations – including the collection of statement from over 8,000 sources – and the analysis and conclusions of such investigations. The Report also includes detailed recommendations based on these findings. On 5 October 2004, the Report was presented to the GOSL, individuals and institutions within Sierra Leone, and relevant parties in the international community. Source: Civil Society Handbook on TRC report May 11 2005

  6. TRC Report – Selected Significant Findings • The conflict and the post-independence period preceding it represent the most shameful years of Sierra Leone’s history. These periods reflect an extraordinary failure of leadership on the part of all those involved in government, public life and civil society. • The central cause of the war was endemic greed, corruption and nepotism that deprived the nation of its dignity and reduced most citizens to a state of poverty. • Successive political elites plundered the nation’s assets, including its mineral riches, at the expense of the national good. • Government accountability was non-existent. Institutions meant to uphold human rights, such as the courts and civil society, were thoroughly co-opted by the executive. • This context provided ripe breeding grounds for opportunists who unleashed a wave of violence and mayhem that was to sweep through the country. Source: Excerpts from TRC report October 2004

  7. TRC Report – Selected Significant Findings (cont.) • Many Sierra Leoneans, particularly the youth, lost all sense of hope in the future. Youths became easy prey for unscrupulous forces who exploited their disenchantment to wreak vengeance against the ruling elite. • The Commission holds the political elite of successive regimes in the post-independence period responsible for creating the conditions for conflict. • The Commission finds that contrary to popular belief, the exploitation of diamonds did not cause the conflict in Sierra Leone. Nevertheless, different fighting factions did target diamondiferous areas for the purposes of gathering mineral wealth to support their war efforts. • The Commission finds that many of the causes of the conflict – particularly those listed here - that prompted thousands of young people to join the war have still not been adequately addressed. If these factors remain unaddressed, they are potential sources for renewed and future conflicts. Source: Excerpts from TRC report October 2004

  8. TRC Report Recommendations What are the TRC Recommendations? • The recommendations found within the TRC Final Report address the social, political, and economic changes that the Commission asserts must take place if Sierra Leone is to move to a brighter future. Is the government required to implement the TRC’s recommendations? • The law that enabled the creation of the TRC requires that “the government shall faithfully and timeously implement recommendations of the report that are directed to state bodies and encourage or facilitate the implementation of recommendations that are directed to others” (TRC Act, 2000, Article 5 (17)). According to the law, the government will form a follow-up committee that will be charged with ensuring and facilitating the implementation of the TRC’s recommendations. United Nations representatives and the moral guarantors of the Lomé Peace Accord of 1999 will serve as members of this committee. Source: Civil Society Handbook on TRC report May 11 2005

  9. Examples of Relevant Recommendations Good Governance and Corruption • Enjoinment of public servants not to act in any way inconsistent with their office. • Disclosure of financial interests for senior public officials. Clear and strict penalties for failure to comply. • Dismissal of officials for breach of office resulting in disqualification from holding public office. • Procurement, tenders, bids, privatisation to be scrupulously open and transparent. • Fair and transparent bidding process for mineral exploitation licenses. • Close examination of issuance of mining licenses to relatives and associates of public officials. • Routine publication of a detailed account of how government spends proceeds generated from diamonds. • Withdrawal of support by donor groups to government and civil society entities that do not address corruption and mismanagement. Source: Excerpts from TRC report October 2004

  10. Examples of Relevant Recommendations (cont.) Rule of Law/Perception of Justice • Permission of independent prosecution of anti-corruption cases by Anti-Corruption Commission. • Prosecution of corruption cases to be free from political interference. • Creation of an autonomous judiciary with budgetary independence. • Judicial officers to act with integrity and dispense justice without fear or favour. • Judiciary not to permit unjust laws to stand and to adopt rights and values based approach to constitutional interpretation. Human Rights • Avoidance of criminal sanctions as response to free expression. Limit such sanctions to conduct aimed at inciting violence and lawlessness. • Repealing of sections 27(4)(d) and (e) of the Constitution which permit discrimination against women. • Creating of a new constitution. Source: Excerpts from TRC report October 2004

  11. Are We Appropriately Managing Real World Perceptions of Sierra Leone? • The TRC recommends the promotion of freedom of expression and the removal of unjust laws. It also calls for the immediate release of detainees held on seditious libel charges. • It appears that we continue to use unjust laws to limit freedom of expression thereby creating perceptions of a poor human rights record and undermining precepts of establishment and fair application of the rule of law.

  12. GOSL Appears Reluctant to PromoteFreedom of Expression… Concord Times (Freetown) NEWSMay 24, 2005 Posted to the web May 24, 2005 Repealing Public Order Will Expose Sierra Leone to Danger, Justice Minister SaysBy Michael BockarieFreetown Attorney General and Minister of Justice Fredrick Carew said Tuesday that if the Public Order Act of 1965 is repealed it would "expose the country to chaos, danger and disaster." Carew who was speaking at the YMCA hall, Fort Street at a one-day workshop organized by the Coalition of Civil Society and Human Rights Groups says the constitution makes provision for the government to protect its people. He said the government would maintain that Act in the law books as it regulates the conduct of individual members of the public whose rights and freedom have been violated. Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) President, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo suggested that certain sections of the Act should be completely expunged. Alhaji Kargbo said Chapter Five of the Act, Sections 22, 23, and 27 are the most disturbing sections, and they prevent people from exercising their freedom of speech. "Freedom of speech is very ideal to democracy," he said.

  13. Thereby Creating Perceptions of a Poor Human Rights Record… International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto) PRESS RELEASEJune 1, 2005 Posted to the web June 2, 2005 'Draconian' Law Used to Muzzle Critics In Sierra Leone, where journalists can be jailed for libeling public officials, the Public Order Act has become a convenient tool for silencing critics. Just ask Paul Kamara, Sydney Pratt and Dennis Jones. All three journalists have been imprisoned on charges of "seditious libel" after writing articles about alleged government corruption. The move has provoked outrage from the International Press Institute (IPI), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF), who are urging authorities to immediately release the journalists and drop the criminal charges against them. The IFEX members say press offences should be decriminalised and treated under civil law. Pratt and Jones, who work for the weekly newspaper "Trumpet", were arrested in Freetown on 24 May 2005 after publishing an article headlined"Kabbah Mad over Carew Bribe Scandal." It cited an unnamed source who claimed that President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was angered by earlier allegations that two senior cabinet ministers had accepted bribes. Kamara, the editor and publisher of the newspaper "For Di People", is serving two concurrent two-year prison sentences for articles that were critical of the president. He was sentenced in October 2004. The charges stem from articles Kamara wrote in October 2003 which detailed a 1967 commission of inquiry linking Kabbah to fraud allegations. Sierra Leone's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established by the UN to document human rights abuses, has called on the government to repeal laws criminalizing seditious and defamatory libel and has recommended a moratorium on prosecutions under those laws. According to the commission's statute, the government is required to implement its recommendations faithfully and in a timely manner. … and undermining the precepts of the establishment and fair application of the rule of law.

  14. What Is the Civil Coalition Doing to Contribute to the Process of TRC Recommendations Implementation? • May 11th Convention and visit to President with Angelina Jolie • Partnership with civil society at home • T.R. Working Group • National Forum for Human Rights • Partnership with GOSL • Commitment by GOSL to issue White Paper within 3 weeks of receipt of final edition of report • Civil society to submit issues for inclusion in White Paper and work with AG’s office on technical issues such as time lines • Civil society submitted issues for White Paper to A.G. on May 24th • Preparing to respond to White Paper • Educating others on the significance of the TRC report • Preparing for a role in monitoring and reporting on implementation • Watch Words • Implementation • Political Will • Accountability • Results Required • FULFILLMENT of TRC ACT OBLIGATIONS

  15. Consider These Next Steps For All in the Diaspora • Identify your issue/area of contribution and make your self accountable – BE A LEADER • Hold others accountable • Educate others • Respond to GOSL White Paper on TRC • Support Establishment of TRC Follow-Up Committee • Inform government policy and legislation • Advocate for alternate dispute resolution • Fund Raise – special fund for victims of the war and reparations • Be an Investor – take a long term view Send a Message of HOPE - The Diaspora Is Engaged

  16. Contact Information For more information on TRC report findings and recommendations please visit the following websites. • • (Video Version – Witness to Truth) • • Childrens Version of report • • To discuss Diaspora and other efforts in pursuit of implementation of TRC recommendations or to join the coalition please contact : Oluniyi (Niyi) Robbin-Coker Civil Coalition for Truth and Reconciliation + 1 917 856 1931