Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone

by AdvocAid
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Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Access to Justice for 500 Women in Sierra Leone
Jan 14, 2022

Justice for a Baby who Died in a Police Cell

Photo: Tom Bradley/ AdvocAid
Photo: Tom Bradley/ AdvocAid

* Trigger Warning - the report below contains information that may be distressing to some readers

On Boxing Day (26 December 2021), a 17 month old baby tragically died while being detained in a police station in Makeni (Northern Sierra Leone) with its mother. She had been detained on allegations of stealing a handbag.

Our offices were closed for the Christmas Break but our staff responded in order to support this woman to access justice. Our Makeni social worker, who was in hospital having just given birth, alerted the rest of the team to what had happened and started making calls to advocate for the mother. Our Makeni paralegal returned back from her vacation in the capital in order to assist. AdvocAid put out a press release the next day, calling for the mother to be released and for an investigation into the tragic death by the Independent Police Compaints Board (IPCB). Our calls were heeded. The mother was discharged and the IPCB announced they would commence an investigation. 

Our team continued to support the mother and arranged for her to get urgent medical treatment. Our paralegal went with her and waited with her in the hospital to make sure she was attended to without any problems. She also ensured that the family got a small grant to support them to buy medicines and food.

A few days later, the baby's body was taken to Freetown for an autopsy to be performed. One of our Freetown paralegals supported the family through this difficult process and went with them. He said it was not an easy experince for him but it was important that the family not feel alone through this. 

Justice is not just about the court room but also ensuring dignity, support and solidarity. We will continue to support this family through the investigation process and their fight for justice. 

We have also issued a press release, calling for the cases of all women and girls, especially those detained with young children, to be reviewed and considered for early release. 

As well as supporting individuals, AdvocAid also tries to focus on wider, systemic change. Our advocacy work highlights the need for a gender-responsive justice system and for international and regional standards to be implemented, which state that pregnant women and women with young children should be given alternatives to incarceration. We have also published a Police Complaints Manual which provides more information abour rights upon arrest and various ways to seek redress if they are violated. 

On behalf of the women and girls we work with, we thank you for your generosity. To get the latest news from AdvocAid please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our newsletter via our website.

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Organization Information

AdvocAid

Location: Freetown, Western Region - Sierra Leone
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @advocaid
Project Leader:
Rebecca Wood
Freetown, Western Region Sierra Leone
$34,081 raised of $40,000 goal
 
1,036 donations
$5,919 to go
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