TAC Director visits Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Resources for the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador Haruna Ginsau, has paid a courtesy call to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at the Ministry’s Tower Hill office, Freetown.

The purpose of the visit is to assess and review the progress of the Nigerian Volunteer Corps with a view to determine the technical aid needs, and to further deepen and broaden the bilateral cooperation with the Government of Sierra Leone.

Giving a brief background of the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps, Amb. Haruna Ginsau said, the TAC was established in 1987 to share Nigeria’s know-how or expertise with other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The TAC, he maintained, is presently assisting in a mutually beneficial way 35 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Sierra Leone is one of the beneficiaries. He also stated that the ultimate goal of the programme is to breach the manpower gap in key sectors of the recipient countries. ‘The TAC gives assistance on the basis of the assessed and perceived needs of the recipient countries; promotes cooperation and understanding between Nigeria and the recipient countries; and facilitates meaningful contacts between the youths of Nigeria and those of the recipient countries’, the Director added. He further ascertained that to date, the TAC has deployed about 15 medical personnel working in various medical establishments across the country.

Amb. Haruna Ginsau highlighted key responsibilities of the TAC to the volunteers that include: monthly allowances, airfare (to-fro), and settlement allowances. The recipient country, he said, should be responsible for providing a modest accommodation, pay utility bills (electricity), transportation (from place of residence to place of work), and free medical. ‘The team would meet with other MDAs in Sierra Leone to identify key areas for intervention and cooperation’, he concluded.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and people of Sierra Leone, welcomed the Ambassador and delegation from DTAC, noting the significance and timeliness of the visit. Dr Samura Kamara lauded Nigeria’s cordial relations with Sierra Leone, particularly as a major contributor of troops during the civil war and Nigeria’s role in the formation of ECOWAS.

The Foreign Minister underscored the significance of the TAC volunteer scheme which could be institutionalised at multilateral level within ECOWAS and the African Union. The technical assistance of the TAC on education, he said, should be extended to children with special needs in the country. He assured the delegation of his Ministry’s commitment to work with the Nigerian DTAC in enhancing their scheme in Sierra Leone.

Present at the ceremony were: the Director of Programmes –DTAC, Mr. Jinoh Oduniyi; the Deputy Director General for Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Assistant Deputy Director General for Policy, Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

The Ambassador Designate of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone presents copies of letters of credence.

The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, has today (19th September 2017), received the Ambassador designate of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs. Maria Brewer in a ceremony held in the Ministry’s conference hall, Tower Hill, Freetown.

Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, for and on behalf of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and people of Sierra Leone, heartily welcomed the US Ambassador designate to Sierra Leone and wished her success in executing her mandate. He assured her of the full support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs both at bilateral and multilateral levels.

The Acting Minister described the Ambassador designate’s appointment and assumption of office as timely, given the numerous challenges the country has undergone from the civil war, the Ebola scourge and the recent August 14 mudslide and flood disaster in Freetown and its environs. These challenges, the Acting Foreign Minister maintained, have diverse effects on the socio-economic development of the country. The Government he said, is currently focused on improving the livelihood and economic situation in the country.

Dr. Gibril Sesay lauded the numerous assistance and support the USA has offered to Sierra Leone, particularly in enhancing not only the diplomatic relations, but also in the promotion of democracy, good governance, human rights, agriculture and food security through USAID.

The Ambassador designate of the United States of America, Mrs.  Maria Brewer thanked the Acting Minister and staff for the warm reception accorded her and entourage. ‘I am honored that President Donald Trump has appointed me, with the consent of the United States Senate, to represent him and the government and people of the United States of America in your country’, the US Ambassador designate stated.

The US Ambassador designate said, ‘I look forward to frequent, cordial and frank discussions with the government of Sierra Leone, so that together they can achieve their shared goals and uphold their common values.  Please be assured that we share deeply the same interest in having Sierra Leone be an ever more peaceful, secure, democratic and prosperous member of the community of nations’, Ambassador Maria Brewer concluded.

Present at the ceremony were: the Minister of State II, Hon. Isata Kabia; the Acting Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; the Deputy Director General for Policy; Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, receives copies of letters of credence from Foreign Envoys.

On 5th September 2017, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara, received two Ambassadors designate: Republic of The Gambia, Mr. Femi Peters and Mr. Tom Vens, Head of Delegation European Union in a ceremony held in the Ministry’s conference hall, Tower Hill Freetown.
Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara welcomed the two designated Heads of Mission to Sierra Leone and wished them success in executing their mandate. He assured them of the full support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs both at bilateral and multilateral levels.
Dr. Samura M.W Kamara extended profound thanks and appreciation to the Ambassadors designate for their support and assistance following the August 14 mudslide and flood in Freetown and its environs, noting that this was a testimony of excellent friendship and bilateral ties.
Some issues on the current global agenda were discussed within the perspectives of bilateral and multilateral relations, underlining the common interest in developing political, cultural and economic relations, as well as the interpersonal relations between The Gambia, The EU and Sierra Leone.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation lauded the contribution of the EU in enhancing infrastructural development to promote the educational advancement of the country. The European Union he said, has also expanded its financial and technical support through the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dr. Samura Kamara called on the EU for continued support to mitigating and addressing serious climate issues and providing technical assistance to vulnerable communities in slum areas.
The Foreign envoys thanked the Minister and staff for the warm reception accorded them and underlined their interest in intensifying collaboration in tackling issues such as migration, money laundering and human trafficking; establishing cooperation in priority areas such as agriculture, trade and investment.
The two Ambassadors Designate presented copies of their letters of credence separately, in accordance with traditional and diplomatic practice. The two Ambassadors designate will present their letters of credence to His Excellency the President at State House later this month. Present at the ceremony were the Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deputy Directors General, Directors of various Divisions and Heads of Sections of the Ministry.

South Korea Donates Five Vehicles to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

The outgoing Ambassador of the Republic of Korea accredited to the Republic of Sierra Leone, resident in Abuja-Nigeria, His Excellency Noh Kyu-duk as part of his farewell visit handed over five 4×4 SANTA FE Cars worth over USD 115,000 to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara at a ceremony held at the Ministry’s Tower Hill office in Freetown.

In his farewell statement, Ambassador Noh Kyu-duk affirmed the strong bilateral ties between the Republic of Sierra Leone and the Republic of Korea, which he said, has grown since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962.

Ambassador Kyu-duk outlined several contributions made by the Republic of Korea in enhancing the socio-economic development of Sierra Leone through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Most significant of their support to Sierra Leone is the Annual Grant-in-Aid in the form of logistical support to MDAs since the establishment of bilateral relations in 1962. He expressed thanks and appreciation to His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and people of Sierra Leone for intensifying the bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Receiving the five vehicles on behalf of the Ministry, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara expressed profound thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for their enormous support to Sierra Leone in various sectors including Health, Agriculture, transportation, Education, Water and sanitation, etc. Dr. Samura Kamara lauded the efforts of Ambassador Noh Kyu-duk in promoting bilateral relations between the two nations and bade farewell to the outgoing Ambassador on behalf of His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma.

It could be recalled that in 2014, the Republic of Korea also donated two Hyundai Buses for the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Kuwait Government Donates USD 250,000 towards the Mudslide and Flood Disaster Relief Efforts in Sierra Leone

The Deputy Foreign Minister of State of Kuwait, Mr. Khaled Sulaiman Al-Jarallah has announced their intention to join the international community’s efforts to support Sierra Leone in the wake of the mudslide disaster of 14th August 2017, by pledging $250,000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand United States Dollars) towards the Government of Sierra Leone’s (GOSL) relief efforts.

The pledge was made following appeals launched by the Embassy of the Republic of Sierra Leone in the State of Kuwait headed by the Charge’ d’Affaires Mr. Duwai S. Lungay for victims of the Mudslide and Flood disaster.

The Office of the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kuwait announced the pledge on Wednesday 30th August 2017 on behalf of the Government of the State of Kuwait.

It is expected that the Foreign Ministry of Kuwait would make an immediate remittance of the Kuwaiti Government’s contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund Account.

The Charge’ d’Affaires, on behalf of His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Government and People of Sierra Leone, thanked the Assistant Foreign Minister in the office of the Deputy Foreign Minister who made the disclosure of the Pledge on behalf of his Government to him over the phone, and assured him that the donation would be used to meet the needs of the victims of the Disaster.

GOVERNMENT OF KUWAIT STOPS THE ISSUANCE OF ENTRY VISA 20 TO SIERRA LEONE NATIONALS

Following concerns raised by the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation over the renewed increase in the issuance of entry visas under Article 20 (Domestic Labour) to Sierra Leone nationals to work as house maids in Kuwait. This has led to an influx of our nationals into Kuwait, thus creating serious problems and embarrassment for the Embassy and the government; the State of Kuwait through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior have taken a decision to stop the issuance of Entry Visas to Sierra Leoneans under Article 20 for Domestic labour of the State of Kuwait to work in Kuwait.
The General Department of Residency Affairs in the Ministry of Interior of the State of Kuwait has issued Circular No. 140 (2017) effective 23rd July 2017 to all Directorates of the various Residency Affairs about this decision.
In view of the above, a large number of Sierra Leonean House Maids offered employment in the State of Kuwait through Recruiting Agencies cannot be traced or reached at the moment though some of them are finding ways and means of escaping to come to the embassy for help to return home.
The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait, in collaboration with the State of Kuwait Immigration Department is processing Emergency Travel Certificates for those that have gone through security checks to be taken to the deportation centre, where they will go through the due process before deportation by the Government of Kuwait. The Sierra Leone Embassy in Kuwait is currently soliciting the intervention of International Oganisation for Migration (IOM) to help repatriate those former House Maids who cannot afford to purchase air their tickets to return home.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation strongly appeals to all those engaged in the trafficking of fellow citizens to desist from such practice as it is punishable by law in many jurisdiction.
The general public is also advised to report any person or persons suspected to be involved in such practice to the nearest police station or local authority.
Meanwhile all those whose relatives have found themselves in this predicament in the State of Kuwait are advised to contact our Embassy in Kuwait at Al-Zahra- South Surra, or call: 25243246-25243234

Sequel Flooding and Mudslide in Freetown

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Raps International Community in Sierra Leone

 

Following the unprecedented and disastrous flooding and mudslide that swept across some parts of Freetown and its immediate environs in the early hours of Monday 14th August 2017 which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, several injured while billions of Leones worth of property destroyed; the Minister and Senior Management staff of the Ministry have updated Diplomatic Missions on the level of casualties and damages caused by the disaster, and Government’s action plan on the current situation in the country.

The meeting which was held in the conference hall of the Ministry attracted over twenty representatives of the various resident Embassies, Consulates and organisations in Sierra Leone.

In his opening statement, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara called to mind the August 14, 2017 flooding and mudslide disaster that has to date claimed the lives of over 207 Sierra Leoneans, including 109 Children, 83 women and 105 men; while, billions of Leones worth of property lost or damaged. These figures, Dr. Kamara told the Foreign Diplomats, are expected to rise as the search, rescue or recovery exercise continues.

The purpose of the meeting the Foreign Minister explained is to exchange ideas on the type of collective response mechanism that could be applied in support of the ongoing response. He briefed the Foreign Envoys on decisions reached during an emergency Presidential Committee meeting with regards the National Response to the flooding and mudslide in Freetown – 7 days of mourning declared effective Wednesday 16th August 2017 during which the national flags should be flown at half mast, a Military Aid to Civil Community (MAC-C) invoked and the National Security threat raised to level 3 by His Excellency the President.

Dr. Samura Kamara further informed members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps about modalities put in place for the coordination of support either in cash or kind. The Office of National Security (ONS) he said, has prepared a comprehensive list of items required to support victims including; Bed nets, blankets, food, dignity kits, etc. A special account will be opened and made public for those who wish to make their support in cash, he added. The President, the Minister disclosed, instructed that all donations be made public in order to acknowledge contributors. Whatever donations,  Dr. Samura emphasised that is made  in respect of this disaster must not be part of the normal programme and support to the country, noting that this must be seen as additional support, which goes to the special account. As a result of lessons learnt during the Ebola scourge, the Foreign Minister assured that, with the involvement of communities in the activities of all the Disaster Response pillars, cash and kind donations will be dedicated just to this disaster. He disclosed that signatories to the Special Disaster Account will include, the Honourable Vice President, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and National Coordinator of ONS. The Ministry of Finance he said, will also provide assistance in respect to procurement and other financial transactions. Our overseas missions have been instructed to talk to your principals for assistance through your respective missions, he concluded.

Key recommendation made by members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps during the discussions moderated by the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay is the proper coordination of interventions and resource mobilization.

A power point presentation on the current flooding and mudslide statistical updates by the Disaster Management of the ONS formed part of the meeting.

Friends of Sierra Leone in Guinea donate assorted items to Mudslide & Flood Victims

The people of Nzérékoré in the Republic of Guinea through the Sierra Leone Embassy in Guinea have presented a truck load of assorted food and non-food items at a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Office of National Security in Freetown.

Delivering the items for and on behalf of the people of Nzérékoré, the Counselor and Head of Chancery of the Republic of Sierra Leone Embassy in Guinea, Dr. Mohamed K. Mansaray said, the outcome of the August 14 mudslide and flooding came as a shock to the people of the Nzérékoré community, particularly the number of lives lost and value of property destroyed. It is against this backdrop that five Radio Stations and indigenous companies, pioneered by S.R. Distillers in the community, mobilised and facilitated the transportation of food and non-food items including beds, household furniture, etc. donated by community members, which demonstrates their sympathy and empathy for families that lost dear ones, and also survivors. The Counselor and Head of Chancery extended condolence and sympathy to all affected families on behalf of the people of Nzérékoré in the Republic of Guinea.

Receiving the items on behalf of the National Coordinator of ONS, the Chief of Staff ONS, Dr. Ahmed A. Sannoh, expressed thanks and appreciation to the people of Nzérékoré for their benevolent donation during this period of national grief and extreme need in the country. Dr. Sannoh maintained that ONS would take custody of the items, which he promised would be utilized by the targeted beneficiaries. He also expressed thanks and appreciation to the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for facilitating the delivery process of the donated items.

The Guinean delegation was introduced by the Deputy Director General –Operations, Mr. Paul Minah, who was accompanied by the Deputy Director General –Policy, Dr. Michael S. Kargbo.

Ahead of 2018 Elections over 240 Female Aspirants Empowered

The Chief of Party for World Vision in Sierra Leone, Dr. Tom Roberts says over 243 female aspirants have been empowered in seven districts to participate and take leadership roles in decision-making processes in the country.

Dr. Roberts made this disclosure during a presentation to the Minister of State I, Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay and Senior Management staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC), on the achievements thus far on the USAID funded project – Women Empowered for Leadership and Development (WELD); implemented by a consortium of four NGOs, primed by World Vision International (WVI).

According to the Chief of Party, WVI, the WELD Project has the overall goal of increasing women’s social, political and economic rights in Sierra Leone. The Savings Group (SG) he said is an approach used by the project to improve the economic rights of women in Sierra Leone.

He further explained that key among their several achievements so far, is increasing Women’s participation and representation in decision-making bodies/entities in seven pilot districts (285 sections in 57 chiefdoms) including: Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkilili, Bombali, Koinadugu, and Port Loko districts.

The report, according to WVI, shows that Kono district tops with 63 female aspirants for various positions (56 Local Councils; 1 Mayor; 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair); followed by Kenema district with 38 female aspirants (11 Parliamentary, 26 Local Council, and 1 Mayor); next is Kailahun with 31 female aspirants (24 Local Councils; 0 Mayor; 7 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Bombali 30 female aspirants ((28 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 2 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Tonkolili 28 (26 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 2 Parliamentarians and 0 District Chair); Port Loko 21 female aspirants (15 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair);  and in Koinadugu 14 (8 Local Councils, 0 Mayor, 5 Parliamentarians and 1 District Chair).

The report shows that in 2012 Kailahun topped the number of female aspirants by 33; followed by Bombali 31; Kenema 30; Kono 26; Koinadugu 9, Tonkolili 7; and Port Loko 4.

The above data, Dr. Roberts said, was for the reporting period up to July 20, 2017 and that the figures are expected to be updated later during the course of the project implementation.

He further disclosed that, in order to enhance the political base of these female aspirants, 58 have been linked to Savings Groups (SGs) in Bombali and Tonkolili districts. A total of 1,637 female SG members Dr. Roberts said, were in leadership roles and 357 groups established with 8,915 members in the seven districts.

Concluding, the WVI Chief of Party called on ‘male champions’ in parliament, councils and CBOs to be willing to support gender equity and women’s participation in leadership.

It should be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone views that the issue of increasing the participation of women in leadership and political processes both at local and national levels is a human rights issue, which is inviolable to the democratic and socio-economic development of Sierra Leone. For this reason the GoSL accepted in July 2016 the UN Human Rights Council’s recommendations Numbers 166, 167 and 169 of the Second Universal Panel Review Cycle, which called for more inclusive governance systems that promote further representation of women into national institutions, public offices and higher levels of decision-making position.

The Minister of State 1 at the MFAIC, remarked that the report from Dr. Tom Roberts and his team clearly demonstrates that Sierra Leone is on the right path to empowering more women and young girls. The Ministry therefore welcomes the report on behalf of the GoSL, he concluded.

 

UN Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights ends Provincial Tour

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Implications for Human Rights of the Environmentally Sound Management and Disposal of Hazardous Substances and Wastes, Mr. Baskut Tuncak has concluded a four-day working visit in four districts in the country.

The main objective of the visit was to gain a first-hand understanding of the main human rights implications as they arise in connection with the question of toxic and other hazardous substances, and to engage in dialogue with traditional authorities, Agro Business Enterprises and Mining companies, as well as representatives of Civil Society: to learn about their experiences, successes and challenges in the promotion and protection of human rights within the context of the question of toxic and other hazardous substances.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur and team were accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, and the Environment Protection Agency.

The delegation paid a courtesy call on the Chiefdom Speaker of Malen Chiefdom in the Pujehun District, Chief Shengbe Robert Moiguah who deputized the Paramount Chief.  The Chiefdom Speaker welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Paramount Chief and his subjects. Chief Moiguah expressed satisfaction on the operations of SOCFIN Agricultural Company in Malen Chiefdom describing their operations as a major catalyst in enhancing employment and development of their community. ‘I cannot comment on the company’s use of toxic chemicals as this issue is very technical and not an expert in this area’, he concluded.  The UN Rapporteur conducted personal interviews with Sahn Marlen community members and the SOCFIN General Manager, Mr. Phillip Tonks. The visit was climaxed by a conducted tour of the company’s oil mill facilities. The UN Special Rapportuer and team also paid a courtesy call on the Mayor of Bo City, Harold Logie Tucker.

In Koidu City, Kono District, the Paramount Chief of Tankoro Chiefdom, Sahr Paul Gaba Saquee on behalf of the Council of Paramount Chiefs and the people of Kono District welcomed the UN Envoy and team. PC Saquee lamented that the Flooding and mudslide that claimed several lives and properties on August 11, this year, is an eye opener to the people of Kono District to be more vigilant in taking care of their environment through their various mining and other activities. The issue of the previous sound pollution, blasting of rocks, etc. had adverse effect on mining communities, but this he said, has minimised as a result of the new underground mining approach used by the OCTEA Mining Company.  The UN Special Rapporteur also held closed door meetings with the Kono District Human Rights Committee and the General Manager of OCTEA Mining Company, Christo Swanepoel, who later took the team on a conducted tour of the mining site.

The team visited Makeni where the UN Special Rapporteur engaged the Bombali District Human Rights Committee to share their experiences on the operations and human rights compliance of the mining companies operating in the north of the country. The team also held a meeting with the Mayor of Makeni City, Her Worship, Madam Sunkarie Kabbah-Kamara and the Deputy Chief Administrator of Bombali District Council.