October 10th, 2012 — 5:36am
10 October 2012 marks World Day Against the Death Penalty
- The TRC recommended that Sierra Leone abolish the death penalty.
“Respect for human dignity and human rights must begin with respect for human life. Everyone has the right to life. A society that accords the highest respect for human life is unlikely to turn on itself.”
- The Special Court for Sierra Leone, which considered cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity, did not have the power to impose the death penalty. The death penalty should be abolished as otherwise ordinary citizens are treated more harshly than convicted war criminals.
- Many countries across the world have abolished the death penalty: 141 countries are abolitionist in law or practice.
- Countries with similar histories of civil conflict, such as Liberia, Rwanda and Burundi, have abolished the death penalty.
- The death penalty is a violation of various international human rights standards.
- The deterrent effect of the death penalty has never been conclusively proven. A 2009 survey of US criminologists revealed that over 88% believed the death penalty was not a deterrent to murder.
- The death penalty is irrevocable. No justice system is perfect. Innocent people could, therefore, be sentenced to death. For example, AdvocAid has conducted successful appeals for two women on death row whose convictions were overturned. But limited legal aid services mean that many more innocent people could be sentenced to death.
- The death penalty is unfair. It is often used disproportionally against the poor, mentally ill and those who are unaware of their legal rights.
- Constitutional Courts in Uganda and Kenya have held that the mandatory death sentence for certain crimes is unconstitutional as it does not allow judges to take into account the individual mitigating circumstances of individuals. In Sierra Leone, the death penalty is mandatory for murder. A judge, therefore, has no choice and cannot impose any other sentence in such cases.
- In 2011 the Government issued an official moratorium on all executions. This hugely significant step was applauded by civil society and the international community. The next step must be to abolish the death penalty completely in law and practice.
AdvocAid is a civil society organisation which provides access to justice and strengthened rights for girls and women in conflict with the law. We have provided legal representation for several girls and women on death row as well as welfare, rehabilitation and after care services. For more information, please visit www.advocaidsl.com or our Head Office, 1st Floor, 39 Liverpool Street, Freetown, 033 572526.
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January 29th, 2012 — 3:08am
AdvocAid was part of a panel at the International Human Rights Funders Group Conference this week in San Francisco. The panel was entitled “Flourish or Wilt? Taking Stock of Women’s Human Rights in an Era of Revolutionary Political Change” and we presented alongside courageous women activists from Egypt, Tunisia and Kazakhstan.
We are very grateful to Mama Cash for this opportunity.
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January 18th, 2012 — 10:36pm
AdvocAid’s Executive Director and Legal Officer paid a visit to Makeni to monitor and support the work of our Makeni paralegal, Victoria Koroma, who is based with Access to Justice Makeni.
We paid visits to the Courts and met with police, State Counsel and the newly transferred High Court Judge. We also visited Makeni Prison, Female Section and distributed welfare items, took detailed statements from the inmates and conducted general prison monitoring. We were able to put up posters concerning the Bangkok Rules, UN Standards for the Treatment of Female Detainees.
Posters explaining the UN Standards for the Treatment of Female Detainees
Simitie Lavaly, Legal Officer, performed a bail application for a young female detainee (a former street girl) which was unfortunately refused due to her lack of family ties and fixed abode.
We were very pleased with Victoria’s work and her impact in Makeni.
Thanks to Open Society Foundations for their support of our work and GIZ who supported creation of the posters. Posters designed by Steph Maylon.
Simitie Lavaly and Victoria Koroma discussing a case
Sabrina and Victoria at Access to Justice Makeni's office
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January 18th, 2012 — 3:19am
Today we are celebrating 10 years of peace in Sierra Leone and also remembering all those who suffered during the 11 year long civil war and those who still feel the effects today. Sierra Leone has come a long way since AdvocAid started in 2006 but there are still many challenges, especially for the girls and women we work with.
The Peace Bird (c) Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars
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December 18th, 2011 — 3:32am
AdvocAid donated welfare items (such as toiletries) to women and their children in Freetown Female Prison. We gave each woman her own “lappa” (cloth) which can be used for clothing, as a blanket etc
We played some music and shared food, including fruit which is hardly part of the prison diet.
However, our Christmas welfare donations were made more complicated as the female prison population in Freetown had almost doubled due to a police raid on a poor area of town. Thanks to your donations, we just managed to give most women a few welfare items each. We spent the rest of the day taking statements from the women with our Legal Officer, Legal Volunteer and law students.
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December 14th, 2011 — 1:29pm
Buy a unique Christmas gift….and feel good about your purchase too!
WHAT: Salone Style Jewellery Sale
WHERE: O Bar (Lumley Beach)
WHEN: Thursday, December 15
Salone Style is a design cooperative that supports a group of women in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Working with disadvantaged women, we aim to empower them with unique skills and a business opportunity.
We are currently training a group of women in the art of jewellery making.
Our first collection is ready just in time for Christmas.
We invite you to view a unique selection of earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
All jewellery is handmade from locally sourced materials.
For more information, visit us at http://www.facebook.com/salonestyle or call 078.887.997
Salone Style is proud to support AdvocAid.
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November 24th, 2011 — 11:27am
As part of our reintegration programme, we are offering skills based training to female ex prisoners. Our first course focused on jewellery design.
The women were offered a six week course to introduce them to the basics of jewellery design. The course was lead by Rikke Clevin Jensen, a Danish jewellery designer who trained at the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London, and Marisa Zawaki.
Since the course began in October 2011, the women have been busily producing necklaces, earrings and bracelets from locally sourced materials. We will be organising a sale in Freetown for the Christmas season. Details to come soon!
The aim of the jewellery design training is to not only help the ex prisoners reintegrate into society, but to provide them with unique skills and a sustainable business opportunity.
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October 13th, 2011 — 5:49pm
Our Finance and Admin Officer, Juliana Wilson, is spending the week at a MANGO finance training course thanks to the support of Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI). Helping us to have even better financial systems and accountability to our lovely donors!
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September 30th, 2011 — 1:56pm
Today the Committee on the Rights of the Child is exploring the rights of ‘children of incarcerated parents’ during its annual Day of Discussion held in Geneva, Switzerland. These children have committed no crime but are deeply affected by their parents’ involvement in the criminal justice system.
Alison Thompson (AdvocAid Director and author of an AdvocAid report on Children Living in Prison with a Parent) is currently in Geneva to contribute to these discussions.
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September 15th, 2011 — 2:30pm
We are pleased to welcome our new volunteer, Cat Seldon.
Cat is a lawyer from London and will be volunteering with us for a few months. You can follow her adventures and experiences on her blog.
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