By Abass Abdulai Jalloh
The Sierra Leone Human Rights Commission has kept sealed lips on the harassment, stigmatization, and public ridicule against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) club making it appear as if their protection is a crime against the state.
I have carefully observed the public discussion on the radio where members of the LGBT accused the Commission of not giving them the protection they deserve under the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone. We must not lose sight of the fact that members of the LGBT deserve protection under the laws of Sierra Leone just like others. Therefore, the central government should be seen as playing a pivotal role in ensuring that society should be able to accept them with open hands. There is no law that bar the existence of LGTB members which in clear terms makes the whole thing mockery of the government and other democratic institutions. The democracy we practice today guaranty the rights of every individual to live the life he or she believes in and therefore the old-aged ideology of traditional, cultural, and religious beliefs into making it difficult for society to accept members of the LGBT has no legs to stand on. We must be sincere in our conscience and try to make the right decision for the good of all and sundry. The recent arrest and detention of members of the LGTB by the Sierra Leone Police should be condemned. Afterward, I have not seen anything wrong if members of the LGBT club decided to hold an event at the beach. To my understanding, I learned they were chased by Islamic vigilantes alongside officers of the Sierra Leone Police which makes the entire scenario comical, undemocratic, and as well a clear narrative of bad governance. You arrest and detain people for believing in something is just a case of injustice. Why not do the same to people who belong to secret traditional societies? What about Bundo society? Are we saying that just because people believe in the ideology of LGTB they shouldn’t be allowed to exist just because some pastors and sheiks have been preaching against their existence? Is this not a clear case of injustice in Sierra Leone? We should know that our government and country is a signatory to some many international treaties and conventions that guaranty the rights to life, race, sex , colour etc. But if we don’t want to be included why do we go out and signed those treaties. Yet , we want to be recognized as a democratic state. In democracy, people should be allowed to practice and live the life they want. Therefore, it is incumbent upon our government to create a peaceful atmosphere for members of the LGTB club to exist. Let us learn to appreciate people for what they believed and stop the habit of making them enemies. I hope common sense will prevail.